MSE News: A guide to budget airline chutzpah

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  • I am fast becoming a huge fan of this website, and it is articles like this that are so empowering. Currently on a trip to Bulgaria we have fallen victim of pretty much ALL the charges noted in Martin's article. Travelled out with Whizz Air, only able to opt out of payment fees with Visa Electron (which we don't have, but will def sign up for the prepaid one now), nearly got caught out with the pre-ticked insurance box which would dulicate our existing cover...basically ended up paying significantly more than the original advertised price. But hey, the costs are still relatively low...it is the INJUSTICE of the hidden-cost cons that is the rub, as Martin says often blatently flaunting EU laws, and which the public need to be protected from. These practices are out of the dark ages and the Companies concerned simply should not be allowed to keep pulling the wool over our eyes. "What you see is not what you get" far too often with the cheap flight deals.
    Thanks Martin - keep up the great work!
  • Oh yes, and I agree with the fenman above, it is "sleight" of hand, but you are forgiven on the basis of the knowledge you impart.
  • dmg24 wrote: »
    Hardly money saving though, is it?

    Considering that the focus of this site is money saving, I find it bizzare that they actually advocate measures which will *increase* the price for savvy consumers.

    The other thing that surprises me is that people appear to have an inability to read. Ryanair's pricing model is actually much more transparent than BA's - does anyone actually know what the 'fuel surchage' is based on, apart from being a way for BA to bump up fares?
    Also, do the EU not have much more important things to look at? Air travel is a choice, some would see it as a luxury. Surely priority should be given to things that affect everyone, or those that cannot afford any holiday?

    I don't think the EU will get involved, because in all honesty, these measures are keeping low cost airlines afloat. For all the complaining on websites such as this, many millions more are more than satisfied with Ryanair/et al's offerings, and this, combined with stable, tax paying businesses will stop the EU from seriously changing things.
    From Poland...with love.

    They are (they're)
    sitting on the floor.
    Their
    books are lying on the floor.
    The books are sitting just there on the floor.
  • edited 23 August 2009 at 11:19PM
    bagand96bagand96 Forumite
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    edited 23 August 2009 at 11:19PM
    The other thing that surprises me is that people appear to have an inability to read. Ryanair's pricing model is actually much more transparent than BA's - does anyone actually know what the 'fuel surchage' is based on, apart from being a way for BA to bump up fares?

    Replace 'fuel surcharge' with 'online check-in fee' and BA with Ryanair and I could ask the same question. But that is not the point, you've hit the nail on the head they are all at it one way or another (although Ryanairs online check in farce is the one that gets me the most - but that isn't the point)

    easyJet are by far and away the example to follow. You enter your dates and route, click next and you are shown prices, in nice large easy to read text. This is the you will pay inclusive of everything (ok, beside credit card). When you select the flight it doesn't generate a pop up box that adds extra charges. Price you see is the price you pay, as long as you are not taking optional extras. Most of the tradtional airlines use this approach as well; regardless of what the taxes and fees are called (does it matter, they are all money making either way), you click search, and the page displays the price you pay without any further action.

    That is what the new regulations were supposed to do, but some airlines found a way round it by adding the pop up charges, so that it meets the crieteria of being displayed on the same page. The easyJet way should be the way to go. However it is a technicality, as Ryanair and bmibaby (and any others that use this method) are effectively meeting the requirements.

    If any legislation is to be bought in though, it should be credit card charges. It is outrageous to be charging £5 per person per sector. Credit card charges should be capped to what it costs the airline, or even what it costs plus a very small percentage if they are claiming admin. But the current system bears no relevance whatsoever and is blatant profiteering. We wouldn't stand for it on the highstreet, or even online shoppping for any other goods, so why with the airlines?
  • ...it is the INJUSTICE of the hidden-cost cons that is the rub,

    An injustice?

    Slightly over the top one feels.

    The real injustice was the legacy carriers for years ripping everyone off at high prices, now we have low cost we still want to whine.

    A very British quality of ours.

    Anyone with half a brain can negotiate the airline website and manage to untick a box, much like when ordering goods online, I always untick the most expensive (and unnecessary) delivery option and I've yet to have a problem.
  • edited 24 August 2009 at 3:47PM
    balusribalusri Forumite
    18 Posts
    edited 24 August 2009 at 3:47PM
    I was charged for using a Visa Electron card by BMIBaby. I got a Travelex cash passport card (as advised by Martin in another article), but in BMI baby's site it kept saying that it is not a valid visa electron card. The only option available for me was Visa card. Then I was charged £30 for using that card. I sent a letter to them, but no reply. I guess another person had the same problem with Flybe. Martin, can you please update the article to warn people about this.
  • shinydocshinydoc Forumite
    125 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    One other thing I have noticed. If you book a holiday for 4, you clearly need to check in baggage for a 2 week holiday, and will often be charged for this :mad:

    The problem is that ALL of you have to select this option, even though only 2 of you may need the 20kg allowance, especially if you have younger children!

    Easyjet have a good exception to this rule, in that if you have a bag each it's 20kg, but if you have a bag between you it can be 32kg and you only get charged for the one bag ;)
  • bagand96 wrote: »
    Replace 'fuel surcharge' with 'online check-in fee' and BA with Ryanair and I could ask the same question. But that is not the point, you've hit the nail on the head they are all at it one way or another (although Ryanairs online check in farce is the one that gets me the most - but that isn't the point)

    Ryanair do offer the chance to avoid the online check-in fee though, unlike BA's fuel surcharges - so the two aren't comparable in this respect. I know when booking a flight that if I get a promotional fare, then I don't have to pay the online check-in fee. But BA's fuel surcharges are absolutely unavoidable and only exist to make the headline price lower.
    easyJet are by far and away the example to follow. You enter your dates and route, click next and you are shown prices, in nice large easy to read text. This is the you will pay inclusive of everything (ok, beside credit card).
    Exclusive of baggage, speedy boarding and others, though. There's no difference to me between the Easyjet and Ryanair websites - the first screen tells me how much I need to pay for the basic flight.



    That is what the new regulations were supposed to do, but some airlines found a way round it by adding the pop up charges, so that it meets the crieteria of being displayed on the same page. The easyJet way should be the way to go. However it is a technicality, as Ryanair and bmibaby (and any others that use this method) are effectively meeting the requirements.
    If any legislation is to be bought in though, it should be credit card charges. It is outrageous to be charging £5 per person per sector. Credit card charges should be capped to what it costs the airline, or even what it costs plus a very small percentage if they are claiming admin. But the current system bears no relevance whatsoever and is blatant profiteering. We wouldn't stand for it on the highstreet, or even online shoppping for any other goods, so why with the airlines?
    Online retailers do this as well, but under the guise of 'postage and packing' instead of credit card fees. In all honesty though, Ryanair's fees don't bother me - I use a Visa Electron debit card (it's the main debit card in Poland!) for one.
    From Poland...with love.

    They are (they're)
    sitting on the floor.
    Their
    books are lying on the floor.
    The books are sitting just there on the floor.
  • Gordon_the_MoronGordon_the_Moron Forumite
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    I just read the article about budget airlines fees and the comment about SkyEurope charging for all card transactions made me curious (it quoted me €6 not €5 as the article said) but I saw how they can get out of calling it unavoidable, they charge for all card transactions but you can pay by ePlatbyVUB, TatraPay, Paysafecard or Paybox (I assume these charge fees like PayPal so not much use in this as you would be paying a fee to them instead of the airline) and then the airline does not add a fee.

    You can also buy a SkyEurope gift card and pay using that, no fees are added to the gift card purchase (I'd worry that credit card providers might treat it as a cash advance though, it would also kill section 75 protection as you would not have purchased the flight directly with the card either) and no fees are added when redeeming the voucher either.

    This would be the best option for someone flying regurlary but it needs a warning with it. You have to put your name on the voucher (or the name of the person you are buying it for), they are non transferable and non refundable. They expire after 12 months and become worthless. They are only available as €25, €50, €100, €200, €300, €400 or €500 vouchers so you can't buy one for the exact cost of your flight unless it is one of these prices, if the voucher is used as part payment the card fees would still apply I assume (though I've not contacted them and the site doesn't say) and if the voucher is worth more than the flight you are left with some credit you have to use on another flight so if you only fly once a year a bit useless.

    Another thing that I thought was rather underhand they did, when you booked there was a link to insurance details which opened on clicking it, insurance was autoselected but the checkbox was invisible until you clicked the link.

    One thing that I was rather incredulous about, you can select a seat (provided it is available) which they charge €10 if it is a "premium seat" (right at the front, right at the back or the very middle) €7 for a window seat and €5 for any other seat. No charge if you don't pick a seat and you are allocated one based on what is available. Why on earth anyone would want to pick a non-premium, non-window seat and pay for the privilidge rather than being allocated one for free is totally beyond me.
    If you don't like what I say slap me around with a large trout and PM me to tell me why.

    If you do like it please hit the thanks button.
  • Beware Aer Lingus. Ensure that you check any documentation the budget airlines send you very carefully. I booked with Aer Lingus and the confirmation showed my first and middle names NOT my first and family name. Regrettably I did not notice until I got to the check in and could not get checked in using the passport scanner. They charged me £80!!! to change one word. Obviously I had to pay as they had me "by the short hairs" no pay no flight!! I revisited their booking in website on my return and the boxes for first and family names were quite distinct and separate so I reckon that I must have filled them in correctly although knowing it and proving it are distinctly different.
    Also you ensure you take your documentation. Whilst waiting in the queue I heard a woman say that she turned up without her confirmation email and got charged £40.
    :mad::mad::mad:
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