There's no hiding airline card fees anymore, say OFT

Bitterwallet - Skymarshall O'LearyRemember when consumer champs Which! launched their super complaint against airlines and other travel companies for hiding charges from consumers during the booking process? Of course you do!

And remember how the likes of Ryanair - who rely on this type of trumped-up charge to pocket millions - retaliated and attacked Which! in a manner that once again proved you can't have too little dignity in business? Yes, that's right!

Well, guess who won? The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has today ordered all travel companies to make all debit or credit card charges clear from the onset, instead of burying them six pages into a booking form. The government went further, though - it also wants the law changed so that charges for debit cards are abolished altogether.

The likes of Ryanair had argued that the fees can already be avoided by customers if they used a pre-paid Mastercard, but the OFT said that it still meant charges were essentially compulsory - such cards still have to be sourced, ordered and activated before they can be used.

While the action won't necessarily see these charges reduced, it will mean they're included in the headline price of tickets and seats at the beginning of the booking procedure, rather than at the end. The changes are expected to take place within the next six months.

Ryanair has yet to respond to the action; juvenile name-calling and pithy threats will no doubt ensue shortly.


  • Dick
    Why would the Government want debit cards to be abolished?
  • Marky M.
    @ Dick Does it say the government wants debit cards abolished? No. Given that airlines can - and do - change prices even whilst you're still online, why does it take six months for these changes to be implemented? And it's ¿Which?, not Which!
  • Dick
    That's better.
  • PokeHerPete
    ¿El hablar el Whicho?
  • james D.
    Aw no, now less informed customers won't subsidize my ryanair flights anymore
  • thefunboi
    @ james Dewitt .. exactly my thoughts. If your stupid enough, not to have a Visa Electron and a prepaid Mastercard, then you deserve to pay the extra. Currently this is pointing at just airlines, but theres a lot of other business' who do this also. Prepare for the price of *everything* to go up now, because whereas previously the more savvy amongst us (and this is why Im surprised at you Martin Moneysaviungexpert) could save the fees, now none of us will be able to, and *everybody* will have to pay an additional £12 per person per flipping flight! Just look at SkyMarshall O'Learys reaction to having to follow the law regards the Ash Cloud Compensation... Now EVERY passenger has to pay £2 per flight. Nice work ¿Which? Why couldnt they have gone on a drive to give out free flipping Prepaid Mastercards and Visa Electrons!
  • Alexis
    Cue prices going up by £5 or whatever across the board.
  • Dick
    @ Marky Marky, yes it did say exactly that when it was first posted.

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