Airport surcharges and other extra costs are adding as much as £133 to the cost of a flight before passengers even board the plane.
This story was published first on Telegraph.co.uk here.
An analysis by the Telegraph shows that charges for anything from using a credit card to buying the transparent plastic bags needed to get through security often add up to more than cost of airline tickets.
Passengers at regional airports are hardest hit. It emerged this week that Luton is to charge a £1 fee for cars dropping off passengers at its terminal. The airport already demands that travellers pay a £1 fee to use a trolley and the same amount for a plastic bag to carry items such as toothpaste or cosmetics through security. Joining the fast-track queue through the airport scanners will set passengers back another £3.
Even before they reach that stage, some holidaymakers will have had to pay an array of surcharges from their airline.
Ryanair demands a fee of £5 for booking by credit card, then £20 to check in for flights booked over the phone. A further £20 is payable for each bag carried in the hold.
Together with payments for parking – up to £80 for a week at Luton – and commission for changing money – bureaus de change commonly impose a £3 commission fee – they can push up the cost of travel by £133.
Rebecca Leach at Holiday Which? said passengers were becoming increasingly confused and dissatisfied by the extend of the surcharges.
“You might be able to book a ticket for £4 but by the time you have checked in and gone through security it adds up,” she said.
“We would like to see all essential charges included in the ticket price.”
The scale of charges varies widely across airports. Blackpool, for instance, offers free parking for up to 15 days but customers must pay £2 per transaction to use an ATM. It also requires travellers to pay a £10 International Development Fee to pass through the departure lounge. Similar charges apply at Norwich (£5) and Newquay (£3).
Heathrow, like other airports owned by BAA, allows passengers free use of trolleys and distributes plastic bags at security for no extra charge. However, leaving a car there for a week can cost £123.
A spokeswoman at Luton airport said: “Charges at Luton airport are introduced to give customers greater choice and better service.”
Stephen Mcnamara, a Ryanair spokesman said all the extra charges are made clear to people when they are booking.
He said:”In most cases, they are avoidable. If a customer doesn’t want to pay, they can choose.”