Delta Adds $3 Surcharge on Flights to Europe Under New EU Emissions Plan

UPDATE #2: As of Jan. 6, several members of airline alliance groups, including Delta, Air France, KLM and Alitalia (SkyTeam); American and British Airways (OneWorld); and United, Lufthansa and Air Canada (Star Alliance) have all upped their airfares by $6 round-trip. So far, Virgin Atlantic is still a holdout.

UPDATE #1: As of Jan. 4, United/Continental matched the Delta surcharge.

The European Union’s new “emissions trading scheme” (ETS) – an effort to combat climate change – has gotten off to a somewhat bumpy start.

While some airlines fell in line with the Jan. 1 deadline by paying the new charges and passing the costs on to customers, others have refused to participate.

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Delta, Other Airlines, Add Surcharges

For example, Delta Air Lines just added a new $3 each-way surcharge on flights to Europe, which as FareCompare’s Rick Seaney points out, “is pretty clearly related to ETS” as fellow SkyTeam members have also joined in.

And, as Reuters is reporting, Lufthansa has warned its passengers to “brace for higher ticket prices” on its flights to Europe.

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China Says ‘No’ to EU Plan

However, China says its airlines will not cooperate with the ETS plan, and a spokesperson representing the country’s four major airlines – Air China, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines – said that they are mulling over possible legal action.

New Surcharges Small in Comparison

It should be pointed out that flights from the U.S. to Europe are already loaded with surcharges, often as much as $400 to $475 per ticket or more, and much of this has to do with the high price of oil – and airfare prices and the price of jet fuel are always joined at the hip.

In fact, surcharges can be close to or in some cases even higher than the price of the base airfare, so another $3 or so on top of that may not seem like much – but, it all adds up to more expensive airfare.


Published: January 4, 2012