$700 per person in fees to secure the free mileage ticket.
I've never, ever encountered this before with award tickets. It's a London thing, I guess. I've booked international award travel to China and Australia in the past, and never paid more than about $50 in fees.
So I checked the American Airlines website for regular fares. Turns out that $700 per person fee is embedded in the ticket price as well. Likewise United Airlines. British Airways. Icelandic Airways. The cheapest fares I could find were about $1,200 per person, inclusive of that $700 airport fee.
At that point, I gave up. My income's been limited for a while due to Short Term Disability, and will be zero during October as I transition from Short Term to Long Term Disability. $1,400 for free tickets just ain't in the cards.
But I don't get it? What's the logic from the UK end? That high a passenger fee makes tickets fantastically more expensive than they already are. The UK just lost a week's worth of my tourist dollars by making it too expensive for me to fly in there.
(And yes, I have looked at alternatives like flying to Continental Europe and coming back on a regional flight or a train. That takes up too much time, as Lisa's available vacation time doesn't allow us to burn the extra days, and also takes up way too much of my energy given my fatigue levels and mobility impairments. I cannot afford to be that clever.)