Four of the five biggest UK airlines charge extra if you book by phone.
Ryanair and Tui both add a £20 surcharge for flights that aren’t booked through their websites. Easyjet charge £15 and British Airways £10.
Only Jet2 told us that they will not charge extra for booking by phone. Other airlines claim phone bookings add an admin cost.
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Ryanair told us that more than 99.5% of their customers book online. However, Ryanair carried 129 million passengers in 2017, meaning that they could have made around £6 million in surcharges from passengers who can’t or won’t use the internet, assuming there were two people per booking.
Ryanair told us: ‘It has never been easier to book a flight at Ryanair.com or on our Ryanair App and less than 0.5% of our customers choose to book over the phone or at the airport. A €20/£20 fee applies to reservations made at airports or call centres in order to offset the associated administration costs.’
Easyjet made a similar defence. It said: ‘We encourage passengers to book online. Those using our telephone service are informed of the online discount at the beginning of the call.’ It also told us that those passengers requiring special assistance don’t have to pay the £15 charge. Instead, they should use a dedicated customer support telephone service (0800 998 1130).
Avoiding flight extras
Fees for booking by phone are just one of a number of extra charges that push airfares up, including check-in fees, allocated seating and hold luggage.
We recently reported that add-on prices can make ‘no-frills’ more expensive than paying for a traditional full-service flight.
For cheats to beat the airline extras and tips on how to get the best deals, read our guide: How to save on flights