Government looking to crack down on hidden fees and misleading reviews.

Image above: Ryanair airplane; library image

Couple charged £110 to print tickets at airport

The Department for Business and Trade is holding a public consultation on the transparency of information given by businesses to customers, aimed at enabling customers to make better  informed choices. Two areas they are looking at in particular are the display of pricing information and misleading reviews.  As a result, airlines could face a crackdown on hidden fees.

An elderly couple from Ealing, Ruth and Peter Jaffe, made the news recently when they were charged £110 by Ryanair for printing their tickets at Stansted Airport. The couple said they were “horrified” at being charged so much just because they had mistakenly downloaded their return tickets instead of the outbound ones.

Their daughter posted on social media that her parents, aged 79 and 80 had made an honest mistake. “£110 for 2 pieces of paper which took 1 minute. Shame on you,” she told Ryan Air.

They are not alone in getting a nasty surprise at the airport. George Westwood and his partner Nick had to pay £50 each for failing to check in for their return flight from Barcelona in time, also with Ryan Air.

“We were just five minutes after the deadline and we swore then we would never fly with Ryan Air again” said George.

Consumer rights expert Martyn James told the BBC the Jaffes’ experience had “touched a nerve” as many other people have also been hit by unexpected charges.

Mrs Jaffe; image BBC

Jaffes’ Story has reached millions online 

The Jaffes’ daughter also mentioned an additional fee paid to secure seats together due to her father’s disability. The post garnered over 13 million views, with many users decrying the high cost of printing boarding passes at the airport and other unexpected charges.

Mrs. Jaffe said “people hate Ryanair,” particularly if they are elderly and not accustomed to using computers.

Image above: Stanstead Airport

“We regret these passengers ignored their email reminder”, Ryanair 

Ryanair said in a statement:

“In accordance with Ryanair’s T&C’s, which these passengers agreed to at the time of booking, they failed to check-in online before arriving at Stansted airport (11 Aug) despite receiving an email reminder (10 Aug) to check-in online. These passengers were correctly charged the airport check-in fee (£55 per pax).

“All passengers travelling with Ryanair agree to check-in online before arriving at their departure airport and all passengers are sent an email/SMS, reminding them to do so 24hrs before departure.

“We regret that these passengers ignored their email reminder and failed to check-in online.”

Image above: Stanstead Airport

There are often fees that customers are not aware of:

  • Airport check-in fee: Ryanair is not the only airline with an airport check-in fee – Wizz Air charges €40 (£34). There is no charge to check-in at the airport by EasyJet, British Airways, Jet2 or Aer Lingus.
  • Adding overhead cabin baggage: Ryanair charges £6-£35, EasyJet charges from £5.99, Wizz Air charges €6-€45. There is no charge at British Airways, Jet2 or Tui.
  • Charges at the boarding gate: If your free “under the seat” bag is too large, Ryanair charges £45.99, EasyJet £48 and Wizz Air €30.

Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake said the  Government’s new proposals would ensure people have “the clearest and most accurate information upfront” before making a purchase.

“From the shelves of supermarkets to digital trolleys, modern-day shopping provides a great wealth of choice. But fake reviews and hidden fees can make those choices increasingly confusing and leaves customers unsure about what product is right for them.”