A new study into airlines and “drip pricing” has found that Ryanair is the worst for hidden fees compared to other European carriers.
NetVoucherCodes produced a report last week that shows the airline’s hidden fees make its base fare 344 per cent more expensive.
“Drip pricing” is term used to describe how online retailers charge consumers more than advertised at checkout due to extra expenses.
Mitch Barnes, a data analyst who worked on the report, said: “Drip pricing is the difference from the initial advertised fee, that’s on the airline website, for example, and then the almost necessary add-ons that feature on top of that.
“[This includes] seating, baggage and the optional extras basically that pretty much aren’t optional”.
The report’s findings show that 89 per cent of airlines are charging passengers at least one hidden fee. For European airlines, the figure was even higher at 97 per cent.
On average, these hidden costs amounted to an additional £45 for European carriers.
Increasing concern over the practice, which is so widespread it’s industry standard, has prompted the UK government to look into curtailing it.
According to the Department for Business and Trade, drip pricing costs online shoppers £1.6b a year.
With the report finding Ryanair to be the worst for drip pricing, Wizz Air, easyJet, Jet2.com and British Airways were all found to be ranked in the top 10 list of airlines whose tickets came to be more expensive through charging for hidden fees.
Mitch Barnes added: “There’s no surprise Ryanair was the top culprit for it and I think their average booking was quadruple [the listed price] … they were the worst offender”.
The data analyst pointed out that generational divides leave older travellers at a disadvantage when it comes to technology because they’re not as “tech savvy”.
Because younger people are much more likely to be aware of additional costs, and because they’re more likely to have a better understanding of smartphones as a method of booking online, older passengers are more vulnerable to pay hidden fees.
On whether the practice needs curbing through government or regulatory intervention, Mitch said: “I’m sure the airlines will just argue on the technicality that they do list the fees [on their websites], but I think it’s a psychological aspect of ‘they’ve got the foot in the door through the low price’ and you’ve kind of deceived the consumer from the get-go.”
He added that airlines should be encouraged to be more transparent with customers about their pricing systems.
Image credit(s): Feature image: @PortugueseGravity/Unsplash. Graph: NetVoucherCodes