Airlines to include debit card fees in headline prices

Twelve airlines including Easyjet, Flybe, Ryanair and Lufthansa have agreed to include charges for debit card purchases within their headline prices, following recommendations from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The move does not mean debit card fees are being scrapped completely (although Monarch Airlines did do so last year – see online news June 3, 2011), but these charges will soon be displayed as part of the headline price of a flight.

The OFT says that several airlines including Eastern Airways, Easyjet, Flybe, Germanwings, Lufthansa, Thomas Cook, Thomson and Wizzair have already made changes to their pricing structures, websites and marketing materials, and others will change their advertising policies by August 1, with further changes to be completed “over the coming months”.

The government department says that the move will make it easier for customers to “shop around for the best deal”.

Carriers will still be able to impose credit card surcharges, but the OFT says that these must be “transparent and not sprung on shoppers towards the end of the booking process “. The OFT says that “Debit cards are the online equivalent of cash which means that headline prices should be the price people can pay”.

Earlier this year Easyjet revamped its booking charges, introducing a new flat rate £9 “admin fee” included in the final fare advertised on the first stage of the booking process (see online news January 12).

Ryanair also introduced a £6 per person one-way admin fee, avoidable if customers purchase tickets using the carrier’s Ryanair Cash Passport Mastercard prepaid card (see online news September 15, 2011).

For more information visit oft.gov.uk.

Report by Mark Caswell

  • The full list of airlines which have agreed to the changes are: Aer Lingus, Bmibaby, Eastern Airways, Easyjet, Flybe, Germanwings, Jet2, Lufthansa, Ryanair, Thomas Cook, Thomson (TUI) and Wizzair

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