What Is Fuel Dumping?

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My dad called me the other night — someone named George Hobica was on Fox Business News talking about ways to find cheaper airfare and had mentioned “fuel dumping” in passing. Did I know about it?

I am indeed aware of fuel dumping and briefly explained the concept.

Fuel surchages can often account for more than half the ticket price. You can often bypass them by adding a cheap one-way on a different airline to the end of your round trip itinerary, which “breaks” the fuel surchage. You never plan to take that last segment, and in fact, it’s usually between two random cities in Canada or Oceania.

Obviously it’s more involved than that — only certain airlines and cities work — and if the one way isn’t cheap enough, you’re spending as much as the fuel surcharge.

(Interestingly enough, it was George Hobica, owner of AirfareWatchdog, who first brought major attention to fuel dumping in 2010, causing many of the options to be shut down.)

Dad encouraged me to write a post about it for readers like him and I’ve resisted.

1. Fuel dumping is not for the casual traveler and I wouldn’t recommend it for most of my friends and family. You need to invest a decent amount of time learning the intricacies of how it works and even more time finding the right routes. You also need to be mentally prepared for the risks of the airline finding out and taking action.

2. Better minds than me have already articulated what fuel dumping is and step by step instructions for getting started.

He keeps bringing it up though, so for my dad and any readers like him, here are the two places I would start. 🙂

View From the Wing defines what a fuel dump is and offers important tips for novices starting out.

Travel Codex offers a detailed walk through of how to start finding fuel dumps.


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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: What is Fuel Dumping? Could American Buy Alaska? And LAX is About to Have a Very Bad Day. - View from the Wing - View from the Wing

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