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UK has new aviation policy to reveal hidden fees

Staff Writer |
To crack down on the way airline companies calculate extra fees after flights are booked, Britain's Department for Transport is releasing an aviation policy that would require clarity about how much the flight will end up costing the traveler.

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The policy is intended to reduce the occurrence of hidden fees and unexpected charges that appear just before the payment stage when booking flights.

"When passengers book flights, they can sometimes be hit with additional charges over and above the original quoted flight cost," Aviation Minister Elizabeth Sugg said.

"Through our aviation strategy, we will explore ways to improve and enhance the information available, so passengers can make well-informed decisions."

Fees such as certain seat assignments, changing a passenger's name, reissuing a boarding pass or having extra luggage can all add up.

In 2016, extra fees represented about $45 billion in additional revenue for 66 airlines, according to a report released by CarTrawler, a company that supplies transportation technology.

According to Britain airline Ryanair's website, passengers are charged $226 to change the name on a ticket and about $28 to reissue a boarding pass.

The company said those charges are not hidden, and are optional fees clearly outlined on the company's website and displayed transparently during the booking process.

Officials are considering whether extra fees are out of proportion to actual costs involved. Airlines largely reject the idea, saying fees are reasonable and putting a policy in place for all airlines would be difficult because each company has their own set of regulations.


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