What has happened?
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has said that 12 airlines have agreed to include debit card charges in their headlines prices rather than add them as a surcharge at the end of the purchase. They've also agreed to make surcharges for credit card transactions clearer
The 12 airlines are:
- Aer Lingus
- BMI Baby
- Eastern Airways
- German Wings
- Thomas Cook
- Wizz Air
Why has this happened?
Following a super-complaint last March, by Which?, the OFT investigated the practice of charging a fee for credit card payments beyond the actual cost of processing the transaction. Which? also asked for more transparency in the fees charged, with this cost made clear out the outset of any transaction, as well as an alternative payment method offered to avoid the fee entirely
The OFT called on the Government to outlaw entirely the practice of charging for debit card transactions, where the real cost is only 20p. In addition, the OFT called on retailers to improve the transparency of their charges at the outset of any transaction.
The OFT secured voluntary price changes from Monarch immediately after the original investigation. The latest commitments by the aforementioned airlines came after the OFT recently reviewed airlines pricing policies.
The hidden sting in the tail
Unfortunately this latest news doesn't mean that flights are going to get cheaper, just more transparent. However, in all likelihood the airlines will create another charge of some kind, within the rules (Easyjet has a relatively new 'per transaction fee') that will recoup some of this lost revenue.