The price of oil has fallen more than 45 percent since the peak in early July. But do the airlines care how this looks? They do not.
Cruise guys, though, apparently do.
Norwegian Cruise Line, following the lead of Royal Caribbean and Carnival, say it will phase out its fuel surcharge.
NCL's fuel-fee-free pledge will apply for bookings made after Nov. 9 for sailings that depart after Dec. 31, 2009.
Now for those sailing next year or those already booked for 2010, the company says it will offer a reimbursement of the fee in the form of an on-board credit if the price of West Texas Intermediate falls below $65 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange two weeks before the start of calendar quarter in which you are sailing (specific dates for each quarter are listed here.)
OK, skeptic that you are, you're probably sitting there thinking that this is all well and good but that NCL and the other lines could simply reinstitute the surcharge anytime they want should the price of oil soar again (and the cruise companies have largely reserved the right to do just that).
They could also simply raise the basic ticket price to offset any rising costs. (Call it the Carnival model. When it announced it was phasing out fuel fees, Carnival also said it would be increasing fares, basically giving with one hand while taking with the other.)
But at least we're seeing an acknowledgment on the part of these companies that keeping these fees amid falling oil prices looks bad. Airline folks, are you taking notes?