I’ve discussed fuel dumps in the past following a simple strategy: point the reader in the right direction without actually sharing any specific solutions. The emails I usually receive are evenly split between people who thank me for opening their eyes and those who have worked on it for hours and still don’t get it. And that’s a sign my approach works. People who want to do this will do it anyway. People who want a handout aren’t going to find me to be very helpful. You will have to work at it to make these tricks work, and it is not something everyone can do.
Ren Hoek: I’m new to fuel dumping. I’ll figure it out eventually, but tips and hints are appreciated to speed the process. What online travel agencies come to mind when you think of doing a successful fuel dump?
You’ve stumbled upon one of the bigger changes in fuel dumping since the practice originated. It is no longer as easy to search for these itineraries using ITA. Even if they are found, you have always needed to find an online travel agency that will sell it to you. Many have developed checks to ensure that itineraries are correctly priced and include their fuel surcharges.
On the other hand, some fuel dumps don’t show up on ITA at all and can only be found on some of these online travel agencies. A particular 3X might only work with Company A, while another 3X only works with Company B. This makes it very difficult not only to book but also to search for fuel dumps. ITA was able to perform multiple variations of these searches at once, facilitating the process.
Companies that want to eliminate fuel dumps, whether it’s the airlines or the travel agencies that sell the tickets, have that power. It requires money and manpower. A fuel dump is basically a bug in the code that determines how a fare is priced. Fix that bug, and the fuel surcharge will be included as it should be.
Your goal is to find the bugs. These are most likely to remain when companies cannot afford the time or money required to fix the bugs and run, shall we say, a “competent” website. Incompetent websites don’t seem to notice that they’re leaving out a few hundred dollars from the final price.
You should seek out smaller online travel agencies like cheapOair and yatra rather than the bigger names like Expedia or Orbitz. That doesn’t mean you should ignore the big ones, however. It’s still worth a look. Also remember that many online travel agencies have multiple international domains. So besides Expedia.com, you might also want to look at Expedia.fr, Expedia.de, and the like. Despite the common names, they can return different results. Remember, Google Translate is your friend, and it helps to be using Chrome or another browser that translates the page automatically. (This sometimes screws with the results, so you might want to learn a little Italian.)