Fuel dumping is the wild west of the airline ticket and travel world. There is a sheriff in the form of airlines, outlaws in the form of frequent flier geniuses who discover fuel dumps and then us, the town folk who hear stories that sound too good to be true. New York to the Maldives for $314? UK to Australia for less than £200 round trip? All true. Draw your guns and get ready…

Fuel dumping is the process of removing certain hefty surcharges from paid tickets to create weighty savings. Airlines add “fuel surcharges” to a final ticket price with the letters YQ or YR and it’s not uncommon for fuel surcharges to actually be far greater than the base fare of a ticket. By removing the fuel surcharges you are able to cut half, three quarters or more of the total cost right away, taking a ticket like one from New York to Rome from $1,000 to somewhere in the $200-300 range. By cutting the fuel surcharges, you are just paying the airline the true “base fare” they are commanding on the route, which is often quite reasonable, not the debatable “fuel” surcharges which make up a majority of the “fat”. If it were easy, everyone would do it…

How the hell do I do this? There are different techniques but the most basic concept is known as a 3x or “third strike”. A third strike is simple, but finding one is hard. If I am flying from Los Angeles to London and returning to Los Angeles, I would add a third short flight at the end, likely to and from unrelated cities. The idea of adding this third flight is that the fuel surcharges on flights one and two (Los Angeles to London and back) will disappear when I add this third “magic” leg. In this example, on any booking site I would search for “Multi City” instead of “Round Trip” and I would input Los Angeles to London in the first field, London to Los Angeles in the second and then Singapore to Kuala Lumpur or any combination of short obscure cities in which fuel dumps occur for the third. Ah yes, there in lies the problem. I wasn’t kidding about the whole Wild West thing. Airline sheriffs patrol the message boards (click to last page to see current deals) where these “fuel dumps” come to light. To give the outlaws (and us village folk trying to cash in) an advantage, the forums now speak in code. Once the sheriffs find a stash of gold (a fuel dump) they close it. There is no consistent working fuel dump, but there are those which come and go and the only way of knowing about them or which great flights you can use them on is to get in the game, read the glossary of terms, plug and play. A lot. A great fuel dump which lets you fly from the UK to Australia for less than £200 or from New York to Italy for $200 is never going to be spelled out. Use the clues (links above) and try to solve the puzzle.

As a matter of note, you should never try to book these on an airline website. Most working dumps require different airlines and the only way to book is via your favorite online travel agent like Orbitz, SkyScanner, CheapTickets etc…

If you truly love to travel this is your “ticket” to seeing the world on the cheap. Saving on airfare means upgrading your stay on the ground where you truly wish to be. If all of this coding, third striking and endless plugging has made your head spin, I always recommend checking out my post which doesn’t involve sheriffs or cowboys on the Best Ways To Find Flight Deals. It’s always nice when a member of the town folk gets a nice big bag of gold dropped on their table. Thanks outlaws. 

As Always, Get in Touch: GodSaveThePoints@gmail.com