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EasyJet increases administration fee – and keeps credit card charge

• £9 upfront fee is response to government call for transparency, says easyJet
• Increased surcharge to be displayed at first stage of booking

EasyJet has responded to government calls to make surcharges for card payments fairer for customers by restructuring – and increasing – its fees.

The airline previously charged a booking fee of £8 for anyone paying for its flights by debit card. The credit card fee was either £12.95 or 2.5% of the costs of the booking, which ever was higher.

It will instead charge an administration fee of £9 for all passenger bookings, a fee that will now be included in all advertising and displayed as part of a full and final flight price at the first stage of the booking process.

This will be applied to all bookings regardless of payment method and how many flights are made. But the airline is also continuing to charge an additional £4.95 or 2.5% for those who pay by credit card. This means that credit card payments will now incur a fee of at least £13.95.

A spokesman for the airline said the new “administration fee” was to cover costs such as those associated with its IT infrastructure and added that the changes to transparency were “exactly what consumer groups have been asking for”.

In a statement the airline said: “These changes have been made in order to address the concerns raised by consumer bodies and regulators across the European Union whilst retaining a simple, transparent and consistent booking process for all passengers regardless of nationality.”

In December, Treasury minister Mark Hoban announced that the government was preparing to legislate to prevent airlines and other businesses from imposing hefty charges on credit and debit card bookings that are difficult to detect.

Under the legislation, airlines, cinemas and holiday firms will be stopped from imposing millions of pounds in “hidden last-minute” charges on internet bookings. The ruling will put the UK ahead of many other EU countries, all of which would have to ban the same fees from 2014 under the Consumer Rights Directive.

Ryanair enraged consumer groups last month when it reacted to the news by claiming that it does not charge its passengers any credit or debit card fees. Instead, it calls them administration fees. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds