Research by Which? has revealed that hidden deep within the small print are rules allowing airlines to charge a high price for making a change or correct a mistake, and travellers could pay up to £160 for an air ticket typo.
According to the Daily Mail, the consumer watchdog investigated the charges after being contacted by 70-year-old Frederick Hubbard, who made the mistake of leaving an 'e' out of his name when booking a KLM flight via Lastminute.com.
He was then informed that there would be a £45 administration charge for correcting the error, and worse still, he would need to rebook the flight at a cost of £540, then await a refund for his original payment, a process which could take up to 16 weeks.
Researchers from Which? discovered other airlines were using similar practices. Ryanair currently charges £110 for changing a name online, but as much as £160 if you correct the error via a call centre or at the airport. The budget carrier will, however, correct minor errors for £10 if done through the reservations centre.
In both cases, where the ticket price had risen since the original booking, the customer would be expected to pay the extra.
With British Airways there was no charge for correcting typos, though the traveller would be liable to pay any increase in taxes or fees should they have increased since the booking, Virgin Atlantic currently charges £30 for spelling corrections, and EasyJet customers can correct typos for free but will pay £35 for a name change.
A Which? spokesman told the Daily Mail: "Being charged for minor name changes to airline tickets, and sometimes having to buy another ticket, is a recurrent complaint among consumers."
The good news is that the European Commission is said to be looking to reform the rules to put an end to the charges, and the spokesman added: "It says airlines should provide reasonable corrections of booking errors free of charge up to 48 hours before departure."
What do you think? Should airlines be forced to correct spelling mistakes free of charge? Leave your comments below...