Airlines ripping passengers off with debit card surcharges


Airlines are still charging travelers excessive fees for booking flights with their debit cards, despite a ruling by the OFT that they should be banned. Which?, the consumer watchdog, said consumers are paying £265,000 a day more than they need to.

Which? submitted a super-complaint to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in March, asking the regulator to investigate excessive credit and debit card surcharges.

The OFT proposed that charges for paying by debit card should be banned at the end of June. A simple amendment to existing Payment Services Regulations by the Treasury would achieve this, Which? said.

The Government still has not taken action and consumers continue to be hit by excessive card fees. Two airlines – Swiss and Lufthansa – have announced plans to start charging customers for using debit and credit cards since the OFT response.

Since the the end of June, consumers have collectively paid an estimated £18 million in airline debit card surcharges.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director says:”With most airlines yet to drop these card surcharges and some introducing new fees, it’s time for the Government to put a stop to this. A minor change to the law is all it would take to ban the charges on debit cards that you only find out about at the end of a lengthy online booking process.

“Thousands of people have complained to Which? that these hidden card fees are unfair. The Government must act so that consumers can easily compare the cost of their flights.”