I have just booked some November flights to Valladolid in Spain and was delighted with the bargain price of just £20 return but I was still annoyed by the final sting of a £10 charge to pay for the flight with my credit card, which effectively amounts to a 50% surcharge!
Information about this charge on the website says:
“to defray the substantial administration costs we incur when processing credit and debit cards a handling fee applies to each passenger, per flight segment…Even allowing for these small charges our fares still represent the best value for money”
Small charges, my arse! According to the banks the average credit card handling fee is on average about 2% so that means about .40p on my £20 fare and I got whacked twenty-five times that amount. There is a special offer on at the moment of zero charges for Electron cards, but who on earth has Electron cards? And they only have to process the payment once so how can they justify multiple charging of passengers? Why aren’t Trading Standards looking into this? Ryanair has over forty million passengers a year so I calculate this rip-off to be netting them four hundred million pounds a year in pure profit. To put this into perspective consider that in 1963 the Great Train Robbers stole £2.6 million and got life imprisonment and in 1983 the Brinks Mat robbery pulled off £26 million and when they were caught more lengthy prison sentances were handed down.
Last year, Stephen McNamara, a spokesman for Ryanair said: “All of those processes go to Visa separate times (for each passenger) so we have to make sure that we are covered in order to cover the costs.” It turns out of course that this statement was another pack of Ryanair lies which just confirms their complete contempt for their customers.
Let’s be honest we all know that Ryanair have got to pay for the cost of flying somehow and zero charge flights are just a bit of a gimmick and I for one would just be happy if they admitted this and just charged me the £5.00 in the first place! That way I wouldn’t feel ripped off and deceived. I don’t mind the baggage charges and the excess weight charges because I can avoid them or it’s my own fault if I don’t but I do object to unreasonable charges being imposed that it is simply impossible to avoid.
Thumbs up on the other hand to Ryanair low cost airline rivals easyJet. Earlier this year I booked summer holiday flights to Athens and when I arrived at the payment screen the charge for paying by credit card was a flat rate of £1.70 plus 2.5% of the cost of the tickets. This is so much more equitable than the Ryanair scam and almost completely in line with the advice from the banks in respect of transaction charges. The total transaction charge was £9.00 on a £280 fare.
I would probably book with easyJet more often in preference to Ryanair but to be honest, even though they irritate me, the only thing that really matters at the end of the transaction is the total price to be paid and in most cases even with the deceit charge Ryanair is generally cheaper. So what am I complaining about then? Well, it’s a matter of principle, Ryanair are being dishonest and I question therefore their business ethics and their respect for the customers.
The reason that easyJet are generally more expensive is that while the two airlines share a common business idea, EasyJet’s strategy differs from Ryanair’s in a number of areas. EasyJet flies mainly to primary airports in the cities that it serves, while Ryanair often chooses secondary airports to reduce costs. For example, EasyJet flies to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and Paris Orly, the primary airports in Paris, while Ryanair flies to the smaller Paris Beauvais Tillé Airport, a 75 minute bus journey from Paris.
Out of the way airports do not really matter to me and are not necessarily a factor in selecting a location because generally I find in more cost effective to hire a car and stay in a cheaper hotel in a nearby town rather than stay in expensive city centres. This worked well recently in Carmona near Seville and in Vila do Conde near Porto both of which had the benefits of a quieter location and better hotels than I could really afford in the city.
Also worth a mention:
It is a blatant surcharge on ticket prices and sneaks in right at the end of the booking process.
I contacted trading standards about this as like you, I was angry that the ‘reason’ for the charge was blamed on the payments Ryanair had to make to the banks. They sent me back a list of regulations and the following if you would like to follow up your complaint.
“For help and advice relating to your individual case, you may wish to contact the Air Transport Users Council (AUC). AUC is the UK’s consumer watchdog for the airline industry. AUC is able to provide advice about air travel and can take up consumer complaints to obtain redress where applicable. The contact details for AUC are set out below:
Air Transport Users Council (AUC)
Telephone: 020 7240 6061
You may also wish to contact Consumer Direct. Consumer Direct is a telephone and online consumer advice service, supported by the Central Government and managed by the OFT. Consumer Direct provides clear, practical and impartial advice relating to problems and disagreements you may be having with suppliers of goods and/or services.
Consumer Direct offers free help and advice to consumers living in the UK. The contact number for Consumer Direct is 08454 04 05 06, or you can visit their website at http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk
We hope that this information proves to be useful to you and would like to thank you once again for writing to us and bringing this matter to our attention. The information you have helpfully provided will add to our intelligence about Ryanair and it may prove to be useful to us in the future.”
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Ryanair have recently changed their rules about the fees they charge for people people paying with credit/debits cards.
The booking fee is £5/€5 per person per flight. After the rule change the only way to avoid paying for this fee is if you pay with a Prepaid Credit Card.
My understanding is that they are obliged to offer one means of paying for flights online that is completely free.
Naturally they decided on a method that not many people have so they can still keep the vast majority of booking fees.
I’ve got one of these Prepaid Card from these people http://www.prepaidfinancialservices.com which cost a tenner and sure enough there is no booking fee when use it and I’ve saved a grand total of £40 in fees since Christmas.
Thanks for the tip!
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Loads more prepaid credit cards in the same category which offer an escape from the likes of Ryanair at http://www.prepaid365.com.