Watch out for these new airline charges
07 April 2011
Published at 15:24 Comments (0)
Several airlines are hiking flight charges this week, but there are ways of avoiding some of these rip-off fees...
Frequent flyers should have been celebrating today. As their arch-enemy, Air Passenger Duty – the controversial tax on air travel – has been frozen by the government for 12 months.
But unfortunately for jet-setters, three major airlines are not following the government’s fee-freezing example...
BA is hiking fuel surcharges from Friday as oil prices continue to soar on the world markets.
It’s the third rise in less than four months and will add £10 to the surcharge levied on both premium and economy tickets to long-haul destinations. Business and first-class flyers will see an extra £20 added to the price of their ticket to destinations such as the Caribbean and the Far East.
Here’s a table detailing all the BA surcharge increases:
Economy and premium fuel surcharge change
Business and first class fuel surcharge change
Long-haul, less than 9 hours
£75 - £85
£105 - £125
Long-haul, more than 9 hours
£88 - £98
£125 - £145
Domestic and short haul flights to European destinations up to the Mediterranean area (and Tel Aviv) will not be affected by the increase.
BA is not the first carrier to up its surcharges to combat rising fuel costs – last month both Thomas Cook and Tui Travel added a £15 charge to all short-haul flights, £25 for mid-haul and £40 for long-haul. These rises are due to high oil prices, brought on by the continuing crisis in Libya and general instability in other oil-rich countries in the Middle-East.
You can read more about how high oil prices affect you – as well as what you can do to avoid these price increases – by heading to How Colonel Gaddafi could cost you money.
Budget airline heavyweight Ryanair has introduced yet another surcharge to its ever-growing list of fees. This time it’s a £2 (€2 for the rest of Europe) per trip fee to cover the cost of paying compensation to passengers when flights are cancelled.
The charge comes as the budget carrier continues to demand that the European Commission change the regulation known as EU261 which forces airlines to pay compensation to passengers if their flight is cancelled. Ryanair is unhappy that it has to shell out for accommodation and food for passengers even if the reason for the flight cancellation is out of its control.
2010 was a tough year for airlines as industrial action and the Icelandic ash cloud forced most carriers to cancel thousands of flights. Ryanair claims that it cancelled 15,000 flights last year and had to spend £88 million on passenger compensation.
However many customers and rival airlines have accused Ryanair of adding in yet another sneaky stealth tax to its flights. One of Ryanair’s biggest competitors, easyJet has said it will not introduce a surcharge to cover compensation costs, but will be upping a different fee...
A pet hate for many shoestring travellers are the huge fees charged by most budget airlines for checking baggage into the hold. These charges are even bigger if you’re caught trying to squeeze an oversized bag into the cabin compartment of the plane!
And the bad news is that EasyJet has increased itsfees for any cabin baggage larger than its maximum dimensions of 56 x 45 x25cm. If a member of the cabin crew spots that your bag is too big at the check-in desk you’ll be slapped with a £25 fine per bag – this increases to £40 if you’re caught at the boarding gate.
But there are a few easy ways to avoid this charge, as well as several of the other annoying fees that are often levied by airlines...
Travel light: The simple way to avoid baggage charges is to travel light and make sure your bag is smaller than the minimum cabin dimensions. If you really can’t cram all your clothes into such a small cabin bag then make sure you pay for your hold baggage online when you book the flight.
Use a pre-paid card: Most budget airlines will charge between £3-£5 per person, per trip if you pay by debit or credit card. But you can avoid these booking fees by paying for any budget airline flights using a pre-paid Mastercard.
Check-in online: Budget airlines will charge you for checking in at the airport – so make sure you do it online before you leave home!
If you need to change any flight details (name, destination etc.) you should also stick to the web, as some airlines will now hit you with an extra fee just for the privilege of using their call centre!
Un-tick the boxes: Budget airlines have a sneaky habit of automatically ticking boxes when you book, signing you up for all kinds of optional extras. Keep your eyes open for them, and if you don’t need the extras – un-tick the box!
Finally, for some more tips shaving a few pounds off your holiday costs read Seven ways to save money on your Bank Holiday break.