The big guys aren't the only ones struggling to cut costs or add revenue in the face of $168-a-barrel jet fuel prices. This week, start-up low-cost carrier Virgin America announced new fuel surcharges of up to $25 on all fares.
Effective immediately, you'll now have to pay an extra:
- $10 on short-haul routes between San Francisco and Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Seattle; and between Seattle and Los Angeles, San Diego, and Las Vegas.
- $25 on long-haul routes between the following cities and New York and Washington, D.C.: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Las Vegas, and San Diego.
According to Virgin America's Vice President of Planning and Sales, Diana Walke: "Even with one of the most fuel efficient fleets in the U.S., Virgin America is not immune to the unpredictability of the oil market. Consequently, we are diligently looking at all areas of our operation to help maintain our competitive fares and innovative, high-value service, while creating an internal structure that addresses fluctuating fuel costs."
Virgin America estimates that jet fuel alone costs the airline an average of $70 per passenger on round-trip short-haul flights and $300 per passenger on round-trip long-haul routes.
Virgin America's actions certainly aren't as dramatic as the new fees added by United and US Airways this week or Continental's route cutbacks, but they are, nevertheless, one more reason for passengers to think twice before they book a new trip.