Budget carriers jacking up surcharges before summer holidays

Budget airlines are sneakily ramping up surcharges for millions of passengers before the summer holidays.

Budget carriers jacking up surcharges before summer holidays

Budget airlines are sneakily ramping up surcharges for millions of passengers before the summer holidays.

They include extra charges for ­checking bags into the hold, reserving seats and paying by credit card.

Thomson has hiked its hold luggage charges from £25 to £30 EACH WAY on short haul flights and from £40 to £50 on long haul, while BMIbaby has introduced check-in fees – £11 at the airport and £8 online – which were previously part of the ticket price.

EasyJet has started charging passengers up to £12 to reserve seats even though it already has a “speedy boarding” option for between £4.50 and £14 per flight.

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Low-cost rival Ryanair, headed by outspoken boss Michael O’Leary, expects passengers to pay £10 more for using seats with extra legroom by emergency exits. The airline is also increasing fees for checking in a standard 20kg bag into the hold from £20 to £25 for online bookings from June until September.

Airlines blame the increased charges on a variety of rising costs, from fuel prices to websites. But critics say they are another set of stealth charges to generate extra income and squeeze more cash out of hard-pressed passengers.

Airlines make around £100million year from debit and credit card processing charges, which are due to be made illegal at the end of the year.

The extra surcharges are highlighted by the website www.aph.com, which tracks prices to help travellers plan ahead so they can keep costs down. Spokesman Nick Caunter said: “It’s important to compare current charges that travellers are faced with when booking flights.

“Passengers should be aware of these extra charges, which make the final cost more than the headline seat price.”

Consumer group Which? said: “Airlines should not use extra charges as a way to bolster their profits. All charges should be fair and made clear when booking.”

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