I booked a flight from Seattle to Paris for June 10th with Air France, but realized I could not make the flight. I called the customer service of the airline because I wanted to re-book my flight, which I successfully did!

The customer service representative informed me that the total fee for re-booking (150 euros or ~168$) + the difference in price of the two different flights (the new one on August 20th - my original one on June 10th of 106 $) would be charged to my account.

Surprisingly, I found that I was charged 274$ on the date I called customer service and an additional 320$ two days after the flight. When I called customer service I found out (after more than half an hour of waiting on the line) that the 320$ was for fuel surcharge.

First, I wasn't informed initially about this additional cost that was charged on my credit card. Second, I just read that this fuel surcharge is a bit of a lame excuse from the airline companies to charge you more for the fare (a fact which is not bothersome by itself, but why wouldn't this fee be covered by the cancellation fee?).

The main question would be if I can do anything to get my money back.

UPDATE: It was indeed a mistake and I was not charged in the end the $320. I am glad I called the customer service and called them up on that. Thank you for the answers!!

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    Which airline was this? – Zach Lipton Jun 15 '17 at 0:24
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    Was a number mentioned? If I read your question correctly, you were informed that you would have to pay the difference in fare so you would have expected an additional charge. Don't get hung up on the name “fuel surcharge”, it's nothing else than part of the fare, it's handled separately for technical reasons that have to do with the way booking systems were designed decades ago. Whatever the case may be, I am pretty sure there is nothing you can do about it. – Relaxed Jun 15 '17 at 4:57
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    @Relaxed She was quoted a change fee of 150 EUR plus the difference in fare of 106 USD, hence the initial charge of 274 USD on the card. Unless the agent added "and we may also charge more fees at our discretion at a later date" the second 320 USD charge sounds rather dubious. Also, has AF really increased the TATL fuel surcharge by 320 USD? There's something a bit fishy about it. – Calchas Jun 15 '17 at 16:04
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    That does indeed sound wrong. When rebooking, you should get quoted the total price including change fee, difference in fares and difference in fees and surcharges. In all my rebooking that's been the case. I suggest disputing the charge with the airline and then with the credit card company. The entire cost of the change must be disclosed at time of rebooking – Hilmar Jun 15 '17 at 17:56
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    @Calchas I initially understood that USD 106 was the original fare, not the difference, hence my question. Still your explanation makes sense and the latest edit confirms there was a mistake. – Relaxed Jun 15 '17 at 23:10

The carrier surcharge (or "fuel surcharge" if you prefer) is a separate calculation to the fare line on the ticket. It goes in a different box. However, the money usually goes to the same person (unless we have codeshare flights). If carrier surcharges were banned (as they are in some jurisdictions) ticket prices would not go down, the number would be bundled differently into the total price.

It sounds like you were misinformed about the correct calculation, which makes it essentially a contractual matter and not a travel question. If you have a recording of the conversation or contemporaneous notes, you could try disputing it with the carrier or with your credit card issuer, on the basis that the price agreed in the telephone call was not the one you were charged. Your chance of success will depend on your local jurisdiction, its consumer rights attitude, and the attitude of your card company. I would not advise pursuing this course of action until your ticket is completely flown, though in some cases time limits apply for disputing erroneous charges on credit cards, often ninety days.

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    I'm a bit confused about the Q. Could the change fee really have resulted in an additional $320 YQ? I admit I haven't researched potential fares – Berwyn Jun 15 '17 at 17:26
  • @Berwyn I agree with you actually, having looked. The fuel surcharge in economy for a direct AF flight on a ticket originating in the US is 125 USD. If the fare is booked in C then it's something like 478 USD. – Calchas Jun 15 '17 at 17:35
  • This is a bit of a mystery! – Berwyn Jun 15 '17 at 17:37

I believe your change fee is incorrect. I just looked at the YR (fuel charge/carrier surcharge/miscellaneous charge) for several economy SEA-PAR flights on AF both a few weeks into the future and today. In each case the "fuel surcharge" was $250. I don't know which class you were travelling in, but I can't believe the fare difference included an uplift of $320 for the fuel surcharge. I think you should call and check.

Edit: I see the same YR for Y, W, J and F fares both today and a few weeks in advance.

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    The YR is independent of the specific fare, but in C/F it's 478 USD each way. In Y/W it's 125 USD each way. This is originating US in a US sales office on a direct flight to PAR. I agree that the sums here don't add up. – Calchas Jun 15 '17 at 17:37
  • @Calchas I mean the YR doesn't appear to change whichever class you're in depending on departure date (it seems). Yes they do differ between classes, but I hope the OP didn't omit changing cabin! – Berwyn Jun 15 '17 at 17:44
  • Yes sorry for being unclear. When I said "class" I meant "cabin". – Calchas Jun 15 '17 at 17:53

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