One holidaymaker thought he'd found a real bargain when he found two return flights to Stockholm for a knock-down price of £65.50 on a flight-scraping website.
However, after he had entered his credit card details and received confirmation he saw that somehow the total price had more than doubled. He rang the company assuming he'd accidentally paid for four flights, and was told the additional cost was just a 'service charge'.
The traveler, identified only as Matt, told the Daily Mail that he had searched for cheap flights on the Fly.co.uk website - which brings together details of flights from lots of airline websites. He booked the tickets through the Fly.co.uk site using a Visa credit card, and only discovered the shocking price he had paid after the payment had processed.
He admitted to the newspaper that there had been mention of a service fee earlier in the booking process, and the payment page said he would be charged £65.40 including VAT, plus 65p and a service fee. There was no information about what the fee would be, so he assumed it was included in the price.
Is this fair?
The company does have details of service fees on the site. The problem is that many travellers never find them. Details can be found by clicking an 'info' button that appears under the flight search results - on an entirely different page to the payment part of the process.
Unsurprisingly, costumers have been facing shock charges from Fly.co.uk for years now, and forums are awash with complaints. Most people hit by the fees were unaware they would be paying anything at all, while some saw there was going to be a service fee, but assumed it would be around the level typically charged by other airlines.
Matt's experience is a nasty reminder that while flight scraping sites are a great way to track down cheap flights, a number of them will charge you for the convenience. If you use one of these sites, therefore, you need to check whether you will be charged a fee. If it's unclear, or you face charges, leave the site, open a new tab, and book your flights directly with the airline.
Some of the airlines themselves will charge fees for things like paying by credit card, but nothing like the sort of charges that Matt was confronted with
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