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CAA Launches Airline Fee Guide

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) LogoBritish holidaymakers are now able to compare the extra fees charged by airlines thanks to a new tool from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Last week, the organisation published a summary of the optional charges imposed by the top UK airlines in an easy-to-use table document. It includes information about luggage, in-flight meal and reserved seating fees, as well as other optional charges that could apply to carriers’ flights.

The comparison table is part of a series of resources the CAA has made available to help guide British consumers through the peak holiday booking season, which includes the Passenger Portal – an online plethora of advice and information for travellers to use before completing bookings, prior to their departure and for when they return if they have any issues during their trip. It’s designed to ensure passengers have everything they need to choose what’s best for their holiday.

The new tool covers charges from a range of airlines, including Ryanair and easyJet, as well as foreign carriers like American Airlines and Air France. For example, it highlights the one 23kg bag allowed by Air Canada for a fare between Europe and Canada, compared to the two allowed by British Airways. Also highlighted is the £6 per flight, per passenger handling fee from Aer Lingus for purchasing a ticket with a credit card, while Virgin Atlantic adds 1.5% to the headline fare.

This follows the UK government announcing plans in December to impose a legislation that will ban excessive surcharges for using debit or credit cards to buy products like airline tickets by the end of the year. The decision was the result of an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) investigation due to calls for businesses to be more upfront about extra fees, including airlines and booking agencies. Consumer watchdog Which? got the ball rolling by filing a super-complaint with the regulator.

CAA chief executive Andrew Haines says that the diversity of the country’s aviation industry offers great choice and value to consumers, with carriers adopting various business models. To benefit from that, consumers want to know the whole picture. The headline ticket price for some airlines will be most expensive part of a booking for some passengers, but others will be more impacted by optional charges that can change their view of the best price overall. This table allows travellers to easily compare the optional charges carriers impose, and it’s essential to consider those fees alongside fares before the booking is made.

Transport Secretary Justine Greening says that consumers want to know the price they see from the beginning is what they will pay in the end. However, many fares seem to come with unexpected fees for everything from simply booking a ticket to reserving a specific seat. She hopes this new information will help consumers, which is why they are legislating to give the CAA more power to ensure transparency. However, it’s ultimately time that carriers were more clear about add-ons with passengers to begin with.

In addition to the resources above, the CAA has also worked to make sure all UK-operating carriers comply with obligations to display unavoidable taxes and other charges more clearly in the booking process. This comes after extensive work with the airlines to put consumers in a better place to see what the total cost of a flight will be.

 

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