The cruise lines drop fuel surcharges while the airlines won't give your money back


Carnival Corp., which in 2007 was among the first cruise companies to implement a fuel surcharge when prices spiked, has announced it'll be one of the first to get out. For 2010 bookings on the company's six major lines (Carnival, Costa, Cunard, Holland America, Princess, and the Yachts of Seabourn), the much-dissed fuel surcharge will be gone.

At the same time, Carnival said it would also be raising fares a little. The increase amount hasn't been announced yet, so it's hard to say from this vantage point whether it's just robbing Peter to pay Paul. But raising prices at this time of year is nothing unusual in travel biz, which sets its rates for the future well in advance.

For their part, the airlines of America are not budging. Last month, reps at several of them said that although fuel prices were indeed lower, they were still running higher than their accountants had expected when they set the current budgets, so the fuel surcharges would stay.

That doesn't entirely square with the rest of the air industry, though. Several international carriers, including Qantas, KLM, Air France, and Malaysian, have cut them. Northwest recently reduced its fuel surcharges for cargo, but not for people. All this while the major players in America and the United Kingdom are keeping them as-is. Some analysts are staying it'll stay this way at least until (and if) oil drops below $80 a barrel and stays there for a while.