Ryanair and easyjet rapped for opting-in passengers

3 December 2008

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Opting in and out of marketing material is a pain in the backside, but at least it won't cost you money. Purchase a flight from a budget airline however, and those options may mean getting caught out and paying for the privilege. Need insurance? Nope, but the website has automatically decided you do, ensuring you have to opt out of buying it. And is that budget flight looking slightly less appealing once you pay a credit card handling fee per person, per flight?

Seems we're getting taken for a ride, and that's before we get on board the plane. According to out-law.com, both Ryanair and easyJet are failing to comply with European laws that ban pre-checked boxes on websites that sell flight tickets.

Ryanair.com adds a £6 charge for priority boarding, unless the option is actively unselected, as well as £8.38 for insurance for a domestic return flight. On easyJet's website, you're paying £6 each-way fee for hold baggage and £9.25 for insurance unless you unselect the options.

Out-law.com also highlight the card handling fee levied by both airlines. For both sites, unless you book your flights with a Visa Electron card, you'll pay a handling fee. For Ryanair, this means an additional cost of £4 per person, per flight. For a family of four, that's an additional £32. Ouch.

There's every chance you haven't got a Visa Electron card, and with good reason; they're aimed at, though not restricted to, people under 18 years of age, and they only account for under 6 million of the 145 million credit and debit cards in the UK. Ryanair allows children aged 14 to 17 to travel alone, but they can't check-in online. Curious and curiouser.

It may seem you've encountered the irresistible force paradox (look it up), but oh no. We've had a hunt around on your behalf; while some banks no longer issue Visa Electron cards, you can open an Easycash account with Halifax and have one as your standard debit card. Hopefully it's a hack that'll help you keep those low cost flights low cost.



  • Gary
    Just want to add that the Post Office have a sterling Travel Money Card (It is Electron) that is simple to set up. They charge £3 or 1% for a minimum top up of £50. You can pop into you local post office and you will require ID such as driving license or passport. Takes about 10mins get your card. Just to note it states that it takes up to 48hrs for top ups to appear, but I have found they go in within 24hrs. Finally to confirm, it works when booking Ryanair flights!
  • Nate
    We booked a flight two weeks ago when Ryanair were running their '2p including taxes' promotion. Card fees when we booked were £16 per person for anything other than Visa Electron, even Visa Debit! Luckily my girlfriend has a Visa Electron card, so we could take advantage and paid 4p for two return flights to Dusseldorf, however, if she didn't we would have had to pay £32.04!
  • peter d.
    Im with Barclays. I asked for an electron visa and they supplied no problem. Im 51 yrs old too lol. Just ask Peter
  • Mike H.
    Who did all the raping? That's one video I'd love to see appear on Youtube... Oh shiiiiiit, rapped :) So what kind of rap did they do for the opting-in passengers? Gangsta? East/West Coast?
  • PJ
    I had an Acorn Electron, could I book through that?
  • Zephyre
    Add BMI Baby to the list - I defy anyone to pay the advertised fare with these blood suckers! Check in a bag? Can't check in online? Fancy pre-booking a seat? paying by credit card? Kerching!
  • Michael
    I use the low cost carriers - easyJet and Ryanair - for day trips. When a fare is just a few pounds, it is always worth snapping up the offer, but would I travel anywhere for more than a day with any of these airlines? Probably not. Whilst the fares appear cheap, by the time the extras are added, you might as well fly with full fare airlines such as British Airways. I have travelled so many times with Ryanair on their 2p flights and also had to pay £4.00 each way for debit card charges, which infuriated me, but at £8.02 for a flight from Gatwick to Dublin (and back again), it is still fantastic value. Even SkyEurope on a recent trip to Prague wanted £6.00 out of me for a debit card charge.
  • kate
    Just to say i booked some free flights with Ryanair and took hand luggage and paid visa electron and they were 2p! Not too sure why they get such a slating as all airlines except Ryanair charge you fuel surcharge which is approx £20 but no=one mentions this!!! and many flights to Brussels are over £200 each yet when we have to pay £16 fee on a free Ryanair everyone complains!!!!! CRAZY!!
  • Budget B.
    [...] arriving at the airport, that means more pennies. And if you want to pay by any means other than the near-obscure Electron card, prepare to cough up. Yes, in the world of Ryanair (and several other airlines, to be fair) their [...]
  • Easyjet B.
    [...] while ago, we had a bit of a rant about Easyjet and their annoying habit of automatically including travel insurance as part of your [...]
  • Dinis Q.
    Hi Guys, the website http://visa-electron.co.uk/ has a list of banks in the UK that issue Visa Electron cards and a list of low cost airlines that don't charge any fees on Visa Electron cards. Hope this helps, Dinis
  • contract e.
    Getting a visa electron to skip Ryanair charges has been easy by asking your bank to issue one. But nowadays hsbc and barclays are replacing them with visa cards. So, you might try to get a prepaid visa electron card to skip Ryanair charges.
  • Maura D.
    Is There Anywhere To Find Other People Wanting To Make Money Online But Don’t Know What To Do?: I’d like to find a

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