Twelve Airlines to Disclose Debit Card Charges Following OFT Recommendations

Twelve airlines flying from the UK have decided to include their debit card charges in their headline prices, following a recommendation from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), a UK government department.

The new pricing policy will mean that the airlines will include their card charges, which will be displayed along with their headline prices, when visitors to online booking websites are searching for a flight.

The twelve airlines that will be offering this service are Aer Lingus, Bmibaby, Eastern Airways, Easyjet, Flybe, Germanwings, Jet2, Lufthansa, Ryanair, Thomas Cook, Thomson (TUI) and Wizzair.

Monarch Airlines scrapped their debit card charges totally in 2011, and Flybe followed suit from March 2012, and now the other airlines will be disclosing their debit card charges as guests commence their online flight bookings.

The OFT has reported that Eastern Airways, Easyjet, Flybe, Germanwings, Lufthansa, Thomas Cook, Thomson and Wizzair, have already made changes to their existing pricing structures, others will be making those changes shortly.

Clive Maxwell, the chief executive officer for the OFT, said, ‘This is a great outcome for the millions of people who buy flights online. It is important that the cost presented when they search for a flight is realistic and that they are not surprised by extra charges. Otherwise it is harder for them to shop around for the best deal.

Because of our enforcement action, most airlines have already made their headline prices and other payment charges easier to understand by changing their systems and processes. The rest will complete changes in the coming months. We made it clear from the start that we would use all of our enforcement powers, including court action if necessary, but are pleased to have reached agreement with the airlines before court proceedings were required.’


Flybe Discards Debit Card Charges

Flybe, the UK-based airline company, has scrapped debit card charges and will be offering more transparency on its fare structure.

The airline is offering a new pricing strategy that allows for more transparency for its customers, and is launching a new marketing campaign with a tag line, ‘Making flying better’, to make its customers aware of the changes in its fare structure.

As part of the new prices, the airline will no longer be charging £8 per transaction on all debit card bookings, and is lowering its transaction fees on credit card bookings from £13 to £9 per transaction.

The new pricing structure sees three new ticket types, Essential, new Economy, and Economy Plus.

Essential tickets offer the lowest fares with a 10kg hand luggage allowance, and frequent flyer points, but no debit card payments. The New Economy tickets offer a free hold bag, confirmed seats on booking, infinite changes in schedules, and a booking confirmation through SMS. The Economy Plus tickets include lounge access for passengers, quick security clearance, and double frequent flyer points.

Simon Lilley, the airline director of marketing, said, ‘The research showed that people did not feel they were getting clear, honest and transparent information in the way we sell airfares. This is way we are being more transparent with our new pricing. Customers want to understand how much they are going to pay as soon as possible and not just at the end of the process. Our second objective is to be more open and fair as well as maximising choice to the passenger. We also want to improve the travel experience through the airports. We want to offer a hassle-free, straight-forward and simple service.’