No-frills carrier Easyjet has made a number of changes to the way it makes and displays booking fees on its website and in advertising, including a new flat rate £9 “admin fee”.
The new fee is being applied to all bookings made from yesterday (January 12), and will be displayed as part of the final fare on the first stage of the booking process. Easyjet claimed this would “make booking flights with the airline even more transparent”.
The £9 admin fee will be applied once regardless of the number of flights purchased in the booking, so will benefit larger group bookings. The carrier said: “The overwhelming majority of its customers book multiple flights or flights with multiple passengers”.
Credit card fees will continue to be applied in addition to the admin fee, and debit card payments will continue to be free of charges apart from the admin fee.
For those paying by debit card the changes effectively mean a £1 increase in their final fare, and for passengers using Visa Electron the admin fee is a new charge entirely.
Previously Easyjet charged an £8 “booking fee” (again charged once per booking) for debit card purchases, which was not displayed until the latter stages of the booking process, as it was waived for flights purchased using Visa Electron cards.
This fee-free payment mechanism has now been phased out, so as all payment methods are now subject to the same admin fee, the carrier is able to display the charge in the first stage of the booking process.
The carrier said that “Following its consultation with the OFT and other European Regulators Easyjet has decided to phase out Visa Electron as a free payment option from January 12, 2012. As fewer banks are now issuing Visa Electron across Europe fewer consumers were able to use this payment method. The majority of our customers will therefore be unaffected by this change.
The move follows plans by the UK Treasury late last year to ban excessive charges on purchases made by credit and debit card, and an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading which “put passenger travel companies on notice to change misleading debit and credit card surcharging practices or face enforcement action under consumer protection laws”.
Ryanair currently charges a £6 per person, per leg administration charge for credit card transactions, although this fee is not applicable if passengers use the carrier’s Cash Passport pre-paid Mastercard .