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How to Find a 3X (Part 1)

In the last post, you learned what exactly a fuel dump 3X is. In this post, you'll see the general idea of trying to find a fuel dump on your own. Don't be discouraged if you can't find one immediately on your own, this site is here to help you!

As a refresher, the goal of a fuel dump is to reduce the "YQ" or fuel surcharge on an itinerary. You do this by combining your desired flight with a 3rd flight, the "3X," which by whatever black magic of the airline interline agreements causes the fuel surcharge to be collected by the new added carrier. Hopefully the new fuel surcharge will be lower (or nonexistent!) hence saving you money despite adding on a 3rd flight to your itinerary. Note that you don't have to fly the 3rd flight if you don't want to. That is why it is a 3X; you are striking the 3rd flight from your itinerary.

Based on this, finding a working fuel dump 3X involves two steps. The first is to find a candidate round trip itinerary. You want these flights to have an abnormally low base fare with an abnormally high fuel surcharge/"YQ". That way, when you "cut the fat" of the fuel surcharge with a 3X you are more likely to get big savings. Realize that if the fuel surcharge is too low to begin with then even if you cut it completely the base fare of the 3X will probably be more expensive. In this post I'll show you an example of a good candidate round trip itinerary.

Now enough talk, let me actually show you what I'm talking about!

The above screenshot is from matrix.itasoftware.com. In case you didn't know, ITA Matrix (now owned by Google) is the flight search technology that powers many popular OTAs (Online Travel Agents) such as hipmunk.com, kayak.com and orbitz.com. I'm showing a screenshot from ITA Matrix because unlike other OTAs, ITA Matrix shows a detailed breakdown of the taxes and fees of a given itinerary, most importantly including the YQ fuel surcharge. Here we see the base fare is quite low, at only 75 euros for each leg. Additionally, the TAP Portugal YQ fuel surcharge is a whopping €206! This is more than 40% of the entire ticket price. Wouldn't it be nice if this could be reduced...

A good candidate round trip itinerary. The base fares are very low and the fuel surcharge is very high.

A good candidate round trip itinerary. The base fares are very low and the fuel surcharge is very high.

The above screenshot is a 2009 fuel dump of this exact route. As we can see, despite adding a new 3rd flight (JFK to BWI on AA), the total price has dropped substantially, from €491 to €217. Note that this dump no longer works. (For working dumps please fill out the contact form below!) Thus while the numbers don't precisely correspond it is illustrative of what kind of base fare & fuel surcharge you should be looking for.

At this point you are probably wondering how the heck we decided to add an American Airlines flight from JFK to BWI. That is the process of actually finding the 3X, which will be reviewed in Part 2 of this series!

Again, as a reminder if you want to find your first real live working today fuel dump please fill out the contact form below! A member of our team will get back to you within 24 hours.