On Thursday’s 8pm (EDT) airfare feed, United Airlines matched a move initiated by American Airlines on Wednesday. Both airlines are now adding a $10 surcharge to the vast majority of their fares for travel on the Sunday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 29) as well as for travel on Jan. 2 and 3.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving vies with the Wednesday before the holiday for busiest air travel day of the year; the two January dates are also heavily traveled days.
While we have contacted American and United Airlines to get their position on this new surcharge and will provide those responses when we receive them it seems clear that this move by the airlines represents an entirely new fee-setting opportunity.
Bottom line: Passengers already pay more to fly on certain days – typically, cheaper airfares are available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays – but American and United have now upped the ante, by determining that certain peak travel days are worth an additional passenger-paid “premium”.