Airlines raise fuel surcharges to Europe

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DALLAS – Major airlines have raised fuel surcharges on travel to Europe by $20 per roundtrip, and some have added conditions that could cause travelers to pay higher fares.

Surcharges to Paris, Frankfurt and most cities on the Continent were raised to $280 per roundtrip and to $242 for London, airline representatives said Tuesday.

Tim Smith, a spokesman for Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines, said his company matched increases by Continental and United. "That's purely a competitive factor," he said.

Delta, United and Houston-based Continental confirmed that they had raised surcharges to Europe by $20 a roundtrip.

Tom Parsons, CEO of Arlington, Texas-based Web site, said surcharges on roundtrips to Ireland are now $100. "Dublin is still a dirt-cheap destination," he said.

Some airlines that previously required only a seven-day advance purchase for the lowest coach fares are now requiring a 14-day advance purchase, Parsons added.

Airlines, which have been hit hard by the recession-caused downturn in travel, have imposed surcharges for fuel and for passengers who travel on peak days around holidays such as Easter and spring break.

Fuel prices hit records in July 2008, then fell the rest of that year and into early 2009 but have rebounded since.

On Tuesday, the spot price for Gulf Coast jet fuel was about $2.16 per gallon, up 43 percent in the past year and 95 percent since hitting a low of about $1.11 in March 2009.

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