Easyjet has introduced a mandatory £9 flat "administration" fee to all bookings in a move that is set to inflame anger among passengers tired of additional charges made by "low cost" airlines.
Ironically the charge, which has already been implemented, comes in response to calls from the government to ban excessive credit or debit card surcharges when buying tickets online.
The airline, founded by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou (pictured) claims its latest move will make its charges "more transparent". It previously charged a booking fee of £8 for all flights booked by debit card. Credit card fees were higher - a minimum of £12.95 or 2.5 per cent of the booking, whichever was more.
The £9 fee will be charged for all passenger bookings regardless of payment method and how many flights are booked, and the fee will be displayed as part of the final flight price at the very first stage or the booking process. But credit card fees of 2.5 per cent will continue to be applied in addition to the "administration fee".
This means that in effect, those paying by debit card will be paying £1 more in their final fare. Those booking on credit card will incur an extra fee of £4.95 or 2.5 per cent of the booking, whichever is higher, meaning an extra charge of at least £13.95.
A recent Which? report revealed that holidaymakers are shelling out an estimated £100 million a year - £265,000 per day - in unfair card charges, and since then, the government has announced plans to ban these levies.
Speaking to the Guardian, a spokesman for Easyjet said the new "admin fee" was to cover costs such as those it associated with its IT infrastructure.
In a statement the airline said: "These changes have been made in order to address the concerns raised by consumer bodies and regulators across the European Union whilst retaining a simple, transparent and consistent booking process for all passengers regardless of nationality."
This week, Ryanair announced it was adding 25p to every flight booked to cover the costs of a new green tax to control emissions.
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