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Airlines face government crackdown on hidden rip-off fees

Robin Bowman

Robin Bowman
Mar 26, 2018

Extra charges that are added to the cost of an airline ticket just as you’re about to click ‘buy’ are to be banned under a government plan.

Ministers are also drawing up plans to force airlines to scrap other rip-offs, such as charging up to £160 just to change the name on an airline ticket, check in luggage or print boarding passes.

The plans are in an aviation strategy to be published by the Department of Transport. This will state that all fees and extra charges must be made clear at the time the ticket is booked.

All airlines will be required to be completely transparent over charges when quoting prices for tickets so people can make fair comparisons.

Airlines could also be asked to review their charges if it’s decided they are excessive.


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The new rules are likely to cover all add-on fees that are added through the ticket-buying process, including booking fees, seat reservations, charges for bags and charges for extra leg room.

The Civil Aviation Authority ordered a review of the terms and conditions used by airlines almost two years ago.

It announced then that it was looking into admin fees and add-on charges to see whether they were fair, easily understood and clearly displayed.

The government said it wanted to ensure that passengers were “not being penalised by unfair contract terms”.

Some of the proposals are due to be published within weeks with a more detailed paper following later in the year.

Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade said: “Carriers operate in a highly competitive, dynamic and global industry and offering great customer service to passengers is their number one priority.

“We are engaging with the government on its aviation strategy and look forward to the publication of a green paper later this year, and will respond accordingly to many of the policy questions under discussion, including on charges.”

A Ryanair spokesman said: “All of Ryanair’s optional charges and fees are clearly outlined on the website and displayed transparently throughout the entire booking process.

“We welcome any measures which combat unauthorised screen-scraper websites mis-selling air fares and including their own inflated, hidden fees.”


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