No-frills airlines criticised

08-01-2008

No-frills airlines criticised
The 'no-frills' airline industry has come under attack from the consumer watchdog Holiday Which? over its continued use of hidden costs when booking flights.

According to the organisation holidaymakers are still paying far in excess of headline prices when booking trips with low-cost carriers, including easyJet and Ryanair.

After research into the sector, Holiday Which? concluded passengers were still paying an average of £28 above the advertised costs of a flight, despite a change in the law to prevent the practice.

Ryanair was singled out as the worst offender, coming under particular criticism for charging passengers £20 to put a single bag in the hold of an aircraft.

However, Monarch Airlines and bmibaby also charge £20 for checking a bag into the hold, while Flybe charges £18 and easyJet a relatively modest £10.

Ryanair charged a further £4 simply to use the check-in desk, but this was dwarfed by the £15 easyJet charge for priority boarding.

"We are disappointed to see the major budget airlines are introducing charges for services that were once included in the full cost of the ticket," said Holiday Which? editor, Lorna Cowan.

"Ryanair’s charge to use its check-in desk is especially unfair. The only way to avoid this is not to check any luggage into the hold. Although the airlines view these services as optional, who would go on a week’s holiday without checking a bag into the hold?"

Charges for baggage and checking in are often supplemented with additional fees for the use of credit cards, which can cost between £3.50 and £4.90.

"Holiday Which? would like to see airlines put a halt to these extra charges - who knows what they’ll be charging us for next," concluded Ms Cowan.

For this story in depth and more on the latest travel headlinesvisit travelbite.co.uk, also part of the Adfero news network.

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