Thai Airways has sent out their monthly newsletter and buried in it were the news that Fuel Surcharges are now back when booking TG flights either as revenue ticket, award or when using mileage upgrades.
I sort of fail to understand how during a time of record low prices for aircraft fuel when other airlines are selling long haul tickets for $300-400 some carriers have the audacity to levy a fuel surcharge but at least consumers have the option to select a honest carrier once these news are out in the open.
You can access the announcement made my Thai Airways on their website (see here).
Fuel surcharges are now being collected for both paid and redemption travel on THAI operating and marketing flights,on THAI Mileage Upgrade and Platinum/Gold Complimentary Upgrade Awards and for redemption travel with Star Alliance partners. Surcharges on THAI are by sector and based on distance and class of service flown, ranging from US $3.00 – $33.00, or the equivalent in local currency.*
When booking Award travel with THAI online all taxes and surcharges are displayed and can be paid for with an accepted credit card. When booking Award travel with THAI reservations all taxes and surcharges are quoted or listed in the proposed travel itinerary and can be paid for with an accepted credit card.
*Fuel surcharges are not applied for Award travel departing from Bangladesh, The Philippines, Australia and New Zealand due to government regulations.Surcharges with Star Alliance Award travel may vary according to distance and class of service flown.
The charge indeed varies and can be relatively low based on the route and class of service. For example when looking up fares I found the highest YQ charge (US$33) was levied on Bangkok-London (vice versa) in First Class:
There are other airlines, especially European ones (Lufthansa, British Airways etc) that charge very high YQ for their flights which also results in very bad redemption values for mileage awards of the respective frequent flyer programs, in particular when it comes to Economy Class redemptions.
At the same time, Singapore Airlines has eliminated the fuel surcharge entirely from all tickets including award travel.
Overall in the case of Thai Airways this is of course a drop in the bucket when measured by the overall cost of the trip but especially when using miles these YQ charges can add up depending on how many segments are included in the ticket. Keep in mind these are on top of government taxes and departure fees.
Thai Airways isn’t really the premium carrier anymore that it used to be, even though there are a few sweet spots and they now at least serve proper champagne even in Business Class.