Expat budget flights cheap but extras pile on the charges

Published:  6 Jan at 6 PM
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A recent survey has revealed that expats booking budget flights may well pay more than with a full-service airline if they include extras in their booking and pay be credit card.

UK consumer watchdog Which is warning budget airline travellers to avoid booking extras along with their flights, as low-cost airlines pile on charges for everything but the seat itself. The study was based on charges by five low-cost carriers for a one-way flight to Tenerife.

According to the survey, paying for essential add-ons such as luggage space in the hold, extra leg room, refreshments and credit card usage shoots the price of a ticket well over average fares charged by full-service airlines operating between the same destinations. Online price comparisons are deliberately made difficult, and the total price is only displayed at point of payment.

The watchdog surveyed five budget carriers, each offering a Tenerife flight on the same day. Ryanair and Monarch topped the table of shame, with Ryanair’s add-ons increasing the ticket price by 86 per cent and Monarch charging 94 per cent of the actual cost of a ticket.

Individual charges for extras vary between competing low-cost carriers, making it even more difficult for passengers to choose between them. Ryanair’s charge for stowing luggage is the industry’s highest at £30, while EasyJet and Monarch’s charges for in-flight refreshment are the highest at £6.50 for a sandwich and coffee.

The survey goes a long way towards proving that budget carriers are often more expensive than their full-service rivals, especially when passengers take into consideration that budget flight airports are often a good distance from the final destination. For example, a British Airways flight to Tenerife costs £96.70, over £10 cheaper than its budget rival’s price including add-ons.
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