Old Jul 18, 2011, 12:25 PM
big_hodds big_hodds is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1
Default Cathay Infant Fair - Huge Fuel Surcharge

Recently my wife and I (pregnant with our first) booked a special airfare with Cathay Pacific from London to NZ to introduce the baby to our family. We couldn't book the babies fare until she was born but were advised by the agent that this would cost approx 10% of the adults fare. A few months go by, the baby is born and we go to book the fare.

By this stage the fares are a bit more expensive so 10% is a little higher (fair enough). However, we were shocked to then be told that the £64 10% infant fare (with no seat) has an additional £356.40 Cathay fuel surcharge in addition to local passenger service charges bringing it up to around £450!!!

I still can't get my head around how an ~8kg baby without a seat can have over £350 levied in fuel surcharges. Unfortunately there seemed no choice but to pay as the special adult fares are not refundable. I contacted Cathay only to be told to send my concerns via email. I've sent two emails over the past three weeks with no response (other than auto replies). My next step is to discuss with the agents their responsibility for advising the infant fare would cost 10% and not advising that taxes increased this by 700%!!

Any thoughts or advise welcome. In the meantime should anyone else be in this position I recommend you stay clear of Cathay Pacific. Airlines like BA only charge infants around £30 for similar trips so even if the initial price is higher, they will probably end up cheaper!
Old Jul 18, 2011, 10:12 PM
Ombudsman Ombudsman is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 136

I beleive even British Airways adds a fuel surcharge, at least they do for flights to/from the US and UK, which also applies to infants traveling without a seat. I agree the charge is excessive. If it truly is a "fuel surcharge" then logically the fuel expended to fly an infant is a fraction of that for an adult based on weight but in reality it is just a way of raising ticket proces withiut adding the increase to the base fare so that they can advertise a "low fare" and make up the difference by tacking on the surcharge. It is a practice that has come under scrutiny here in the US however airlines still get away with this deceptive practice.
Contributing editor to one of the largest travel blogs on the internet.

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