A group of 14 people travelling together on Ryanair would pay £168 extra for their flights, despite only making one payment.
Ryanair has defied the government’s move to ban surcharges on payments to airlines and other firms by saying it does not charge its passengers any credit or debit card fees.
Airlines, cinemas and holiday firms will be stopped from imposing millions of pounds in “hidden last-minute” charges on internet bookings. Treasury minister Mark Hoban said the government is prepared to legislate to prevent airlines and other businesses from imposing hefty charges on credit and debit card bookings that are difficult to detect.
However, the budget airline said in a statement: “Ryanair, the UK’s favourite airline, today confirms that it does not impose any debit or credit card fees.”
Ryanair claims instead to charge an “admin fee” per passenger per one-way flight. This £6 charge is levied when a passenger comes to pay and can only be avoided by using the airline’s own prepaid Mastercard. It states on its website that this charge “relates to costs associated with Ryanair’s booking system.”
The charge means that, for example, a group of 14 people travelling together would pay £168 extra for their flights, despite the fact that only one payment is processed for the entire group.
John Holmes, principal economist at Which?, who helped compile a report into excessive card charges which formed the basis of a supercomplaint to the Office of Fair Trading earlier this year, said the Ryanair reaction was typical of the airline and would be dismissed by the government.
“The only time the airline charges that £6 admin fee is when a passenger presents a payment method to the airline,” he said. “The principle of this government legislation is about those charges that are practically unavoidable. You cannot avoid paying for a flight so you cannot avoid the charge.”
Which? says an airline incurs costs of between 8p-20p on debit card transactions. Those rise to between 0.88% and 1.8% of the transaction for payments by credit card. It means a passenger paying the average return fare of £136.09 should pay a minimum of £1.20 and a maximum of £2.45 for a credit card booking. Continue reading