I was shopping for a flight to London Heathrow in December and noticed that with the rapid drop in crude and fuel prices last Fall, Air Canada quietly rebranded their Fuel Surcharge to “Carrier Surcharge”.
From Air Canada’s site under International (emphasis mine):
Carrier Surcharges: Carrier surcharges are included in the Air Transportation Charges and are collected by airlines to partially offset certain volatile, unpredictable or fluctuating operating costs and fees, and certain fare Premiums linked to peak travel periods. These carrier surcharges can be used to offset some (among others) of the following costs: fuel, navigational charges, or select peak travel dates to/from certain destinations.
It’s not just about fuel anymore, you see? It’s about managing “fare Premiums linked to peak travel periods”! Which sounds a lot like increasing our prices when demand is high. Didn’t that used to happen by changing fares?