Etihad conjurs new surcharge: pay extra to fly Friday or Saturday

By David Flynn, May 1 2013
Etihad conjurs new surcharge: pay extra to fly Friday or Saturday

As airlines around the world search for new ways to put a little more of your money into their pockets, Etihad Airways has come up with a novel concept that not even 'king of the extras' Ryanair has nutted out.

Etihad is adding a 'Peak Day of Week' surcharge onto flights which depart on a Friday or Saturday.

In an advisory issued this week to travel agents, Etihad notes that the surcharge will commence from May 6th and "will apply to all fare types, cabins and classes". Travellers will be up for an extra US$5 per sector of their journey.

For example, if you fly out of Sydney on a Friday and are bound for London via Etihad's Abu Dhabi hub, that's two sectors in the 'peak day of week' period, or $10 on top of your ticket.

We're the first to admit that $10 isn't much these days. In the big picture of flying from Sydney to London, $10 is roughly equal to the square root of bugger-all.

All the same, the notion of charging travellers for flying on what an airline rates as its busiest days broadens the net for scooping up ancillary charges, and it's also noteworthy to see this move introduced by a full-service airline rather than a low-cost carrier...

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Dec 2012

Total posts 66

Ok. So they have a small surchage for Fri & Sat departures...I dont think $10 will effect people much. Perhaps they could increase it to say $100 and then offset this by having 'discounted' fare on slower days - like Tue & Wed. Budget airlines offer cheaper fares Tues & Wed.

Having worked at BNE for 3 yrs, the slower days at Intl Terminal were Tues & Wed (hardley any flights, and even then fewer pax numbers).

So I say increase to 10-fold, then offer the discount to the 'slow' days.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Nov 2011

Total posts 121

Pretty sure this is what Dynamic pricing is all about...


04 Nov 2010

Total posts 670

But Amjid, why charge this 'extra' fee at all?

I can't see any reason why an airline should charge people differenrly for flying on a busier day. In what ways does flying on a Friday or Saturday cost Etihad more than a Sunday through to Thursday? There's no justification for this fee, so I don't want to think about why Etihad should charge MORE for the weekends and then charge LESS on weekdays.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Feb 2013

Total posts 54

Al,what relevance is cost to the setting of air fares? It doesn't cost an airline any more to transport the passenger that books a flight to London the day before travel compared to the person sitting next to them that booked six months ago, but there could be big difference in the fare charged. The cost for Etihad of carryinga passenger to London on 23 November is roughly the same as carrying them on 23 December, but the economy fares are likely to be very different.

It probably costs Etihad less to transport passengers from Sydney to Abu Dhabi than it costs Malaysian to fly them there via KL. But Etihad 's fares are generally higher than Malaysian's because they offer what many customers want - a non-stop flight.

The airline is a business that seeks to maximise its profit, and as such will seek to match supply and demand. It can do that by varying supply (running more services on high demand days) or by managing demand. If airlines don't want to have aircraft  parked on low demand days, they need to manage demand, i.e. vary prices to fit the demand pattern.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Dec 2012

Total posts 66

Supply & Demand. When there is high demand (re: Xmas Period), the price will go up. Thus when there is low demand, the price will go down.

So I think they should charge more for high demand days.

Im looking at Cathay Pacific Fares to Karachi at the end of the year, and if I book ex. KHI, fares in J are $2050 return. But if ex. BNE - they are $7500 return.

This is because there is high demand on flights ex.BNE at this time.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 361

isnt that why they have fare buckets? I mean as flights get busier and the plane fills up, the price goes up anyway.

02 Dec 2011

Total posts 47

I had to check whether it was 1st of April, but no it is still 1st of May

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 316

some airports like Perth charge a peak hour fee to airlines that operate within certain period during their busiest time of day, so it does cost them more to operate on these peak days... however it will be interesting to see how they justify Fri/Say as compared with any other day of the week.

07 Mar 2013

Total posts 18

ACCC here will love this!


19 Dec 2011

Total posts 48

I agree with you david, thin edge of the wedge!

Isn't the demand and supply for flights reflected in prices, with flights on Fri and Sat already priced with a premium? 

What BS!

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 6

Most airlines already charge premiums for weekend travel!  I am unsure as to why Etihad make a point of it - I feel there's something more to it!

10 Jun 2011

Total posts 56

Weekend surcharging is not a new concept the airlines have been doing it for years across the transatlantic and North transpacific,  UA DL QF AC VA NZ all do it from the US/Canada to Australia/NZ and the surcharge is a lot more than $5 per sector.  UA and DL do it ex Australia as well on many fare types

Its all about supply and demand and premium pricing for high demand flights. That is what the airlines are very smart at maximising.  It is the concept of dynamic pricing

Low cost carriers do it all the time, they just dont set it out as a weekend surcharge on their website

Compare the cost of Australia to Europe tickets in the peak seasons versus the quieter times it is often double the price. It costs the same to fly an aircraft from Australia to Europe in the peak season as it does the low season

Yes, but is this a fee on top of fares that have already had the premium priced in through dynamic pricing?

Is Etihad guaranteeing that the fares on Fri and Sat are exactly the same as that of Sun-Thu, with $5 being the only charge to reflect the premium?


Are they saying demand and supply will determine prices, which therefore means tickets on Fri and Sat will be more expensive AND we will then slap on another $5 on top of that already more expensive fare? 

21 Mar 2013

Total posts 3

what next

charged to have a dump   $100 per kilo

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Oct 2012

Total posts 11

Surcharge may be getting closer to home than we think. Friend in England, who subscribes to QF redemail over there, forwarded me last weeks offer he received, note the last line. At 370-odd econ seats that’s over A$11,000 per plane, not bad for small change. Interesting that there’s no extra fee in prem econ or business class though.

Important flight information - Economy fares:

  • ^Flights betweenDubaiand each of Perth,AdelaideandBrisbane are operated by Emirates.
  • Flights toCairnsare viaSydney.
  • For departures 6 May-20 June 2013. Book at least 5 days in advance of departure.
  • Prices are based on departures Sunday to Thursday. An additional £20 per person applies for Friday and Saturday departures


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