Travel is expensive. There’s no way around it. Even if you spend ages researching routes and times to get the best deal, you’re still forking out a significant amount of money just to get from A to B. When you are ready to book your vacation and head to the checkout, you might find that your travel plans have suddenly rocketed in price. Cheap flights and special offers are often loaded with charges and fees that only appear in the final stages of the booking process.
Hidden Fees: Airlines and Airports
When you go to book a flight, the potential for hidden fees is almost expected. If you can travel with just one carry-on, you’ll happily stuff your little plastic bag of 100ml toiletries in next to your rolled up socks to avoid paying for luggage in the hold. For instance, United Airlines charge $30 for the first bag and $40 for the second; easyJet baggage fees are £37 per bag; and Ryanair charges £40/€40, with a €10 supplement during peak periods. In some cases, it costs less for you to fly across the continent than it is for your suitcase.
Is it any shock that the prime (and repeat) offender of the hidden fee is Ryanair? For example, if you don’t check in online and print off your boarding pass, you will be charged £55 or €55 at the airport. It’s a running joke, in fact, that they would charge you to use the bathroom on board or to use the stairs to get off the plane. In 2009, Michael O’Leary, CEO of the low-cost airline, said that he was considering putting coin slots on the bathroom door so people had to “spend a pound to spend a penny”. Obviously, this hasn’t been implemented but would you be surprised if it was? Extra charges seem to be the way that some airlines make their money, as you can see below:
The word we have a bit of a problem with is “extras”. It suggests that these aren’t basic requirements for when you travel but luxurious add-ons so the premium price is justified. This seems to be the only way travel providers try to draw potential customers in whilst also making a profit: cheap flights stacked high with hidden fees. The tight profit margins in the aviation industry leave little other option for companies, which of course has an impact on how we buy travel. When you stop and think about, if you saw two flights advertising the same route, one of which was £30 and the other was £60, you’d go for the cheaper one. By the time you’ve added luggage, check-in, VAT and everything else, it’s probably going to cost exactly the same - but you clicked on the cheap one to begin with. If airlines don’t advertise cheap-as-chips flights, no one will even consider buying them in the first place.
And that’s just the transport. What about when you get there?
Hidden Fees: Hotels
Hotels are just as bad for adding extra charges here and there to ramp up the cost of your reservation. For example, we all know the dangers of the minibar. £3.50 for a KitKat seems ridiculous until it’s 2am and you’re bored, hungry and unable to get to sleep, so you’re willing to pay what you need to for that KitKat. WiFi that was advertised as a free is only available in the foyer or for reward card holders. Welcome drinks are charged to your card. It costs twice as much to park your car in the hotel grounds than round the corner. This all sounds pretty familiar; we’ve all had to get out our credit card more times than we expected. As you’re already checked into your hotel and starting your dream vacation, you don’t want to scrimp just to save a few £££ here and there. We’re happy to pay up in order to treat ourselves on vacation, although whether or not you can consider a £3.50 KitKat a treat is another story altogether.
Thing is, these are all extra charges for things you use, but did you know that some hotels will charge you extra just for being there? Resort fees are charged per night for staying in a hotel and are added onto the end of your bill. How do you find them? Not without a bit of digging, as they are often stipulated in the very fine print at the end of the booking process. If you are wondering what you’re actually paying for, then it’s things like the fitness centre, the pool and the phone. Even if you don’t use them. Las Vegas hotels are especially guilty of doing this with some resorts charging $45 per night on top of the room price. The room is promoted at a really low rate in order to draw you in but in reality, you’ll find the resort fee is the same price as the room itself, although it’s not unheard of for it to be double the room rate.
When you think you’ve got a great deal, a lot of the time you find that your final bill is more than you ever would have originally paid for that hotel room or flight ticket. It’s so frustrating to see banners across the top of websites or plastered across social media and physical billboards advertising a destination for an unbelievably low price, only to find when you’ve spent so much time planning that it’s doubled or tripled.
How Can I Avoid Hidden Fees When I'm Booking A Vacation?
When you log into TransferTravel.com, what you see is what you pay. We are completely transparent about what is included in the price, including name change fees and so-called ‘extras’. When you buy second-hand tickets in the travel marketplace, you know you are getting a transparent and fair price as we verify the costs and booking confirmations of every single listing. There are no hidden charges just popped into your basket in hopes that you won’t notice. A £40 flight is a £40 flight and our discounts are genuine. We shouldn’t have to accept that some fees are hidden or that we have to pay extra for basic necessities. Instead, using our peer-to-peer marketplace means that you know exactly what you’re paying for, no surprise charges and hidden fees.
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