Adding on to the add-ons: yet more extras to pay with certain airlines as you go through the on-line booking process.
You may not have attempted to take to the skies only to find yourself grounded by Eyjafjallajökull last March, but one year on and all Ryanair passengers are set to pay the price for the volcanic ash disruption. Admittedly 2010 was an ‘annus horribilis’ for airline companies, with airport chaos caused by heavy snow and a series of French and Spanish strikes to boot, but the £2 levy Ryanair is charging could bring in up to £150m in a year, nearly twice what the airline says it has paid out as a result of claims made during the year.
Ryanair already earns up to £450 million a year through online check-in fees, £350 million through credit and debit card charges, and at least £320 million through baggage charges. Despite the fact that up to 20 per cent of tickets will be sold using promotional fares which will not include the £2 fee, the charge (on both outbound and return flights) will bring in far more than it paid out after last year’s disruption, reports the Daily Telegraph. The company is set to announce annual profits of £350 million shortly, up from £281 million.
Meanwhile EasyJet has increased its transaction fee to £8 for debit cards, and £12.95 for credit cards, although the cost of processing a debit card payment is around 20p per transaction. Ryanair charges £6 per passenger per flight so a family of four would pay £48 for a single debit card payment on a return trip.
If a family wants to sit together, priority boarding costs £32 with Ryanair and £80 with easyJet. Last month, Ryanair also began charging £10 each way for reserving specific seats on routes from Dublin to Gatwick and Malaga. Meanwhile, Flybe has introduced a fuel surcharge of £3 per passenger on all bookings made for flights departing after August 31.
A spokesman for the Aviation Consumer Advocacy Panel said that these extra charges are just ‘a way of marketing the fare to make it more attractive to customers’ and cause confusion. Ultimately, when comparing prices, keep in mind that regular airlines don’t charge for seat reservations and give you free snacks and drinks, whereas you’ll pay £5 for a sandwich on low cost flights and around £2 for a drink. That’s £28 for a family of four. You see how it all adds up?