Brits hit most by hidden airline charges
June 22nd, 2012 by elisa

Airline customers in Britain have the worst record when it comes to facing hidden extras when booking flights, according to a new study.

Commissioned by WorldPay and carried out by Loudhouse in February, the study looked at 4,500 customers in nine countries. Britain had the most number of customers likely to be presented with hidden surcharges (41%), whereas Japan had the lowest at 8%.

Customers were surveyed in the UK, US, China, Japan, Brazil, Finland, Spain, Germany, and France. Decision makers at 51 airline merchants including low cost, regional and global carriers were also questioned.

Mike Parkinson, VP of airlines for WorldPay, said: “According to the research, consumers who have purchased an airline ticket online in the last 12 months are frustrated with the lack of transparency around surcharges, and it is one of the biggest contributors to shopping cart abandonment.

“This issue is associated most predominately with budget airlines, of which there is quite a large number of low cost airlines in the UK. Consumers accept that taxes and fees need to be paid and are willing to pay a percentage of their ticket price to cover these costs. In the UK, the percentage that a consumer is prepared to pay is higher than the global average (4.57% vs. 3.81%), but there is a demand for the total cost to be made clearer.

“Airline merchants are however already taking note and looking to review the way they present surcharges to their consumers.”

Main issues raised from the survey included:

– one of customers’ biggest concerns across all countries is surcharge transparency. 28% felt they had been presented with “hidden” charges

– 65% of customers said they would be prepared to pay a percentage of their flight cost towards surcharges.

– 75% of UK consumers bought airline tickets direct through an airline website over the last 12 months

– over the last 12 months, 59% of consumers bought tickets through budget airlines, 58% through traditional airlines and 20% through package airlines



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