The real cost of budget flying

Recent studies from Which? holiday have indicated that checking a bag into the hold and using a credit card could add almost 30% onto the advertised price of some ‘budget’ airline tickets!

Which? Holiday compared the prices of four of the UK’s largest no-frills airlines on flights to four different destinations and looked at the charges incurred on these flights for checking a piece of luggage into the hold and for paying with a credit card.

Based on a three-night break between the 11th and 16th February 2010, they found:

  • The price of a flight to Paris with BMIBaby increased by around 25% when one piece of hold luggage was checked in and the ticket was booked using a credit card, and the price of a flight to Malaga increased by 23%.
  • Ryanair charges £50 extra across all its routes for checking in a hold bag and paying with a credit card; an increase of between 8% and 29% on the advertised cost of the fare.
  • Although Jet2 were found to add the most to the cost of a flight for the charges – £92.16, this was an increase of just 10% on the advertised ticket price.
  • The cost of a ticket on a Ryanair flight between East Midlands airport and Malaga increased by 29.1% when a bag was checked into the hold and the ticket was paid for using a credit card (£121.98 to £171.98).

Rochelle Turner, the head of research for Which? Holiday, said: “It’s hard to believe that any airline could justify increasing the ticket price by almost a third just for checking a bag into the hold and paying on a credit card, two services that not too long ago were included in the headline price.”
“Airlines argue that they are being fairer to customers who don’t use these services. But, in reality, how many people don’t use a credit or debit card to pay for their flights, or travel without luggage? These aren’t extra services. They are part and parcel of taking a flight.”

Airlines automatic travel insuranceKeep an eye out for some airlines who are still leading customers to buy holiday insurance by making buying insurance cover a default booking option when customers book their flights online. Last November, there was an EU ruling making it illegal for airlines to automatically opt passengers into optional additional charges including travel insurance, as part of their flight package. By shopping around online for holiday insurance, you’re likely to find an insurance policy which suits you better.

Holiday insurance is a must!
When buying your holiday insurance, don’t assume that every policy is the same. Your needs may be different from others, so make sure the policy you buy provides the cover that you require. Read the small print, check the level of cover and ensure you are covered for any activities that you want to undertake. Carry your travel insurance documentation with you on holiday and keep the 24-hour emergency medical assistance number on you at all times along with your policy number. Call us for an instant 24/7 travel insurance quote, for just £5.91** 24/7 travel insurance will cover you for a 3-day trip to Europe!

**Premium £5.91 includes Insurance Premium Tax; based on an individual traveller aged under 55 taking out a Standard single-trip policy for 3 days in Europe including personal possessions cover and purchased within 14 days of departure date. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (December 2009) and are subject to change.