Budget airline Ryanair has announced that its customers can only avoid paying a booking fee if they use its own prepaid card.
From 1 November, any passenger booking a Ryanair flight will pay a £6 per-person, per-trip surcharge if they use any prepaid card, apart from its own Cash Passport card.
Presently, anyone who books using a Mastercard prepaid card is not subject to the additional charge, but those using a debit and credit card are. This means many people will not get the same level of protection under the Consumer Credit Act that they could get with credit card purchases.
The flight operator claims that the Ryanair Cash Passport ensures that customers ‘are using a trusted and approved product that will deliver real savings every time they purchase a Ryanair flight’.
Snub to surcharges supercomplaint
Ryanair’s latest initiative flies in the face of the Which? surcharges supercomplaint to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The supercomplaint, which was investigated by the OFT and upheld, centred on the charges companies impose on anyone paying with credit or debit cards.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘With this change Ryanair has made it even more difficult for customers to avoid a surcharge when they pay for their flights. With most airlines yet to drop 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 on-line 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.’
Which? surcharges supercomplaint – see our ‘Stop Rip-off Charges’ campaign pages
– what you need to know when booking a holiday or flight
– what protection you have if you buy using a credit card