How to make use of the very low fuel surcharges departing from Hong Kong

Posted on August 23, 2015 by in Travel Deals

Fuel surcharges meet the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department

Did you know that airlines flying from Hong Kong can’t determine the fuel surcharges for their tickets at will? Instead the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department has to approve them and the bureaucrats don’t like fuel surcharges – good for us!

Here is the link for the fuel surcharges the CAD has approved – the charges are specific per airline and per short/long haul segment.

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Now airlines need to comply with the fuel surcharges eventually but they are often reluctant.

Now Lufthansa usually charges ~$250 per segment in fuel surcharge from Asia to Europe but from Hong Kong it is just $28.10.

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Low fuel surcharges from Hong Kong – No – we are British!

This also means that awards from Hong Kong have just the same low fuel surcharge – right?

In theory yes – most airlines charge the exact same amount. Lufthansa Miles & More does not add any other charges and $28.10 is all you pay in fuel surcharges currently for an award from Hong Kong to Europe. Keep in mind that most progras will charge a higher fuel surcharge when booking a round-trip from to Hong Kong and back.

British Airways Executive Club and AAdvantage are more sneaky – instead of dropping the fuel surcharges (as they do for regular tickets) they have just renamed them for award bookings into ‘carrier surcharges’ which come out to the same amount of that fuel surcharge. That’s a pretty dirty trick!

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Some BA Executive Club members have reported that if their account is based in Hong Kong no surcharges are levied – but I haven’t been able to confirm that. Changing your address and the homepage language is not sufficient at least.

For Finnair the surcharges come to about ~100 – for Cathay Pacific no surcharges are being charged in Executive Club. Since Cathay Pacific Business Class is such a great product there is little need to press BA on this one.

Book (one-way) awards with almost any program to make use of the low fuel surcharges from Hong Kong

The low fuel surcharge of $28.10 applies to any carrier (unless the CAD has approved a higher number) and SHOULD apply to any award program – so it is a great opportunity to try different airlines when departing from Hong Kong (here are my TOP Things to do in Hong Kong for your stay).

When booking your award a fuel surcharge may appear – it is a good idea to raise the issue with the agent (in a friendly manner!!) and bring up this code ASD ADM/1-70/1 and point out that the maximum fuel surcharge is $28.10 when departing from Hong Kong. I just did that with Singapore Airlines Krisflyer and while the agent had ‘phantom fuel surcharges’ first she was able to quote me a price without fuel surcharges.

I also did point this out to the BA Executive Club agents in the UK but they would not let go of the ‘carrier imposed surcharges’.

What other locations offer low fuel surcharges?

The other location that helps reduce fuel surcharge is Brazil – the law prohibits air carriers from charging them. So for Hong Kong or Brazil – if in doubt – go there on a program not charging fuel surcharges and come back with one that does charge it usually (but almost all programs do NOT assess fuel surcharges for flights departing Brazil).


About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]

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