You had spent ages researching and you finally found a flight with a great price, and now it’s time to fly. After queuing for what seems like ages you have finally got to the front of the line and you’re checking in.
Then smack! You’re hit across the cheeks with a fee for checking in at the airport. Whack! You’ve then hit with another fee for your luggage.
Low cost airlines say that they are keeping prices down, but sometimes it just seems this way as they have swapped a traditional ticket selection with a menu of various items that used to be included in the price.
I recently met a couple at Luton Airport who had had the surprise gift from their airline of an extra £152 in fees. Technically it was their own fault for not paying attention to the sales rules set by their airline. But it wasn’t the time or the place to say that as they were quite upset, especially as they knew that some of these fees would happen again on the return flight as they were staying in a remote cabin without any internet facilities.
I offered the only advice I could, and that was to suggest that they find a business centre at their return airport before they left for their cabin. Then they could check that they can book their luggage and check in online.
The airlines say that they are keeping prices down and are good for the customer, but I haven’t heard of a member of the check-in desk tell someone that there is an internet café or booth at the airport, and that using this would save them a lot of money.
Nope, they just ask for the credit card details.
To be fair Ryanair who are traditionally knocked for their pricing, have brought down the price of the boarding card so they are trying to be customer focused, but what are the fees that catch passengers out?
Let’s start with Whizz Air
Baggage fee at the airport per flight, per passenger and per bag is €60.00 / £51.00
At the airport means check in and at the gate. You may be surprised how many people go through security without checking their luggage and then want to go back to do this (they can’t in most cases).
If your carryon is too large then it’s €35.00 / £30.00
Airport check-in fee at the airport per flight, per passenger €30.00 / £25.00
Boarding Card Re-issue Fee €15/£15
Airport Check-in Fee €70/£70
Of course finding a way around these fees at the airport doesn’t help as there is a time limit set on online check-in. With Ryanair you can only check-in on line up to 2 hours before your flight time. So this could be why a Ryanair check-in desk would not suggest the airport internet as you’ll already be too late.
Whizz Air it’s a massive 3 hours before departure.
They are both really trying hard to get those last minutes fees off passengers, aren’t they?
So, as I have said many times before, always be certain about the flight ticketing rules before you hand over your money.
If you are as OCD as me about checking in, then you’ll be at the airport in plenty of time for a bit of last minute online ticketing action. So how do you find out if your departure airport has the facilities to allow you to do this?
Well the first step should be to check the airport’s website. I did this, and I found that it doesn’t always help. Or you could message them for the answer, again I tried this and it doesn’t always work. I’m still waiting for a couple of answers after three weeks.
Luckily most airports in the UK are members of a larger group, so if your chosen airport ignores your email maybe another one from the group will actually answer you. Then by using this answer you may be able to get the answer you need by contacting the suppliers for the solution sent to you.
This is how I figured out the answers for the UK airports used by Ryanair and Whizz Air.
Airports with Internet Access and Printing Facilities
These are run by Surfbox, who were far more helpful than most of the airports in giving me the answers. They say that the cost to access the Internet is 10p per minute and printing cost £1 per page. So for less than £2 you can check-in and print off a boarding card.
Luton – Internet desks are available at a cost of £1 for 10 minutes access and are situated by the doors into Arrivals. Printing is available at £1 per page at the print spots in the terminal building
Stansted – Internet kiosks and printing facilities are available for a fee
Airports with Internet Access but without Printing Facilities
Airports without any Internet Facilities
Airports that haven’t responded
Some of these airports do offer free Wi-Fi, but have not responded to information requests about internet kiosks or cafes.
One airport did suggest that passengers should use their smartphone app to check-in, but that kind of ignored the fact that I was enquiring for people without smartphones. But thanks.
What has been your experience of airport fees from your airline this year? Have you received help in reducing the costs, or have you just had to pay up?