With oil prices at historic lows, the airlines are running out of excuses for imposing fuel surcharges on their flights and exposing them as what they are: hidden increases of fares. They allowed airlines to advertise low fares, and hiding the surcharge among taxes and government fees, and also charge frequent fliers for their “free” award tickets. Now, the Philippine government has stepped in and eliminated fuel surcharges for Philippine carriers and all flights leaving the Philippines (read more here)!
Now, while that is great news and increases transparency for consumers when buying airline tickets, the local discount carrier Cebu Pacific (find reviews here and here) was quick to adjust their fares and role the fuel charges into their advertised fares! But beyond the greater transparency, there is great news for travelers: Because this ruling also applies to foreign carriers operating out of the Philippines, they have to eliminate fuel charges on award travel. This is especially good news for carriers with steep fuel charges on premium award travel, like Singapore Airlines (SQ). SQ charges hundreds of dollars on an intercontinental Business or First Class award ticket – and now has to drop them for flights originating in the Philippines. For example, a First Class award ticket from Singapore to Frankfurt has a total of $597 in charges. A First Class ticket from Manila only has $112 in charges, eliminating $485 in fuel charges! This makes those aspirational award flights a great deal. Even if you don’t live in Manila, but are planning some travel across South East Asia, add the Philippines to your list and you can take advantage of these savings, too! The savings would easily pay for a ticket from Hongkong, Bangkok, Seoul or Tokyo on Cebu Pacific (see recent sale here) and the stop over hotel in Manila!