'Added extras' on budget airline prices may be banned by new laws

Anyone who has booked a 'bargain' budget flight knows only too well that the final bill will be much, much higher than the initial price, thanks to all the fees and taxes that are added.

But such rip-offs could be a thing of the past if a European-wide ban on these airline add-ons is brought into effect.

The European Commission is considering a ruling to ensure airlines must offer a single correct price for flights on their websites - so that what you see really is what you pay.

The ruling would stop extra levies made by airlines, such as Ryanair's £2 charge on all flights, which is set to earn it £150million extra a year.

Ryanair has justified its new extra levy because it says it is necessary in order to pay compensation for delays and cancellations.

But Siim Kallas, the European Commission vice-president, is considering taking action against the charges after he was urged to consider a change in the rules by Labour MEP Brian Simpson.

Mr Simpson, chairman of the European Parliament Transport Committee, said: 'Flyers are being ripped off by an endless list of charges that airlines add to the prices they advertise.

'I am calling for the European Commission to look at how passengers are being misled and how it can force airline to be more transparent in showing holidaymakers exactly what they're buying.'

Speaking in the Daily Mirror, Mr Simpson said there had been a growing trend among budget airlines to advertise a low price for fares before hitting the customer with a series of charges.

He added: 'Airlines make millions by forcing holidaymakers to pay one fee to use credit and debit cards, pay another amount for taxes and fuel surcharges, pay again to choose a seat and then pay even more for the pleasure of bringing a bag.

'One airline has even taken things a stage further and asked passengers to pay for their own compensation.

'Many passengers even arrive at the airport for their holiday only to be told that they have to pay a further fee to check-in for their flight because they should have done it online.

'When booking a flight, the price you see at the beginning of your search should be the same price you actually pay at the end.'

A spokesman for Ryanair said the levy was included in all advertised literature, the Daily Mirror reported.

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