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Airlines still charging for hidden extras

[January 7th 2009]

Despite plans by the European Parliament to ensure price transparency many airlines are still charging for hidden extras.

This is the finding of flight price comparison website, which has produced a list of the top 10 hidden extras. It has found that travel insurance and baggage charges are two of the extras most commonly ‘hidden’ in the flight booking process.

“Insurance is often automatically added and unless the traveller knows to click the button that says ‘remove’, he or she will incur the cost involuntarily. Although baggage charges are incurred slightly differently, they still cause confusion as different airlines have different rules and travellers can end up paying all the way up to £300 in excess,” says Cheapflights.

As well as excess baggage and travel insurance charges, the other hidden extras according to Cheapflights are: airport taxes and fee including Air Passenger Duty (APD), credit card payments, priority boarding, airport check in versus online check in, meals, checked luggage, fuel tax, and carrying infants.

“Customers are often confused that prices listed don’t correspond to the cost quoted once they’ve completed their booking,” comments travel expert, Nadine Hallak.

“This is because the imposed costs are often auto-checked without the customer noticing it and can add anywhere from £5 up to £50 on the final ticket price. So when you’re booking look out for pre-ticked boxes showing checked baggage charges, infant fees, sports equipment, musical instruments and so on,” she explains.

Cheapflights has produced a guide for travellers with information on hidden costs to help prevent surprises when they come to book a flight.

The flight price comparison website has also conducted a poll asking users of the site what they think low cost airlines will charge for next. No less than 51% believe they could soon be charged for using the loo in-flight, while another 12% think they could be charged for looking out the window, and 7% suggest there could be a charge for sick bags. Other responses included oxygen, membership to the mile high club, sleeping and speaking to cabin crew.

Written by: Nick Purdom

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