Budget airlines may have to drop hidden charges

19 March 2013

You know when you look at the Ryanair website and you think, ooh great, only £30 each way to go to somewhere called Zgabo, so you click on it and then a whole world of pain opens up where you have to pay £50 to take a bag and £20 to sit in a seat and £50 for fuel and £40 to get from the airport which is 5000 miles away from Zgabo?

Well that could soon be history, thanks to the Law Commission, who recommends that courts should be given new powers to stop unfair hidden charges.

At the moment, budget airlines are being coy about how much their flights actually cost in order to appear cheaper on price comparison sites. Therefore customers end up blowing their budgets before they hit ‘confirm’. The reforms would mean that companies must be more transparent about any extra costs.

But it’s not just budget airlines that might be affected by this decision – mobile phone companies, payday lenders and even wedding organisers will have to ‘fess up about their true costs.

The Government, who commissioned the report, will be looking at this as they develop a new Consumer Bill of Rights. In the meantime, make sure you have £50 handy if you want to do something crazy like TAKE A BAG ON HOLIDAY.

TOPICS:   Travel   Complaints

3 comments

  • Justin
    Yeah - Air Canada just mugged me with some bag ransom from the UK. Essentially I got to take my bags "free" to Canada, only to find out that if I wanted it to travel on my next leg to the US I had to pay 22.50$CA per bag for the privilege. Buried down deep in their baggage allowances page on their website (NOT their ticket purchasing site), you find that sure enough, if you hop over the US border you have to cough up dough. Its all got rather random though. When I checked-in they said I didn't need to pay and the computer was wrong (fix: enter zero bags then check them in at the airport apparently). Then I complained to the CEO of Air Canada and an executive dweeb said it was within their rights and I should just suck it. Opodo (the original website) wish-washed their hands of it saying, not our problem, we only show whatever the airline gives us guv. Air Canada then went ... well, you can have some good faith vouchers if you don't get a refund from the Refund Department, only to be refunded the amount they stole on my credit card. You be the judge, I can't see any regs fixing this. My faith in airlines is at an all time low, as just as you say, you can't compare airline tickets. Muddled in there is EU law for delays, which they're equally deft at avoiding (a 2.5hr delay that indefinitely extends in 30min chunks for example). So let's end with a good'ol American phrase the seems appropriate: BITE ME. Tank profit and just BITE ME. You're all weasels.
  • Alexis
    How hard can this be? Just make up some rules to prevent all this hidden charges nonsense and give the ASA some teeth to enable them to investigate and fine. Withe investigations taking 4 weeks, not 7 months. Why bring courts into it? They'll do sod all but enable more work for ambulance chasers.
  • BS
    Justin, that sucks. And about time this was done. I don't know why it's been so slow. I loathe having to go through pages or small print to find out just how much the extras will cost and thus, be able to know the true cost of a flight or product. Ok, I understand if not everyone will, say, check in a bag but what's wrong with making clear how much a checked in bag costs from the outset?

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