As of tomorrow, November 30, 2012, you will no longer able to avoid an administrative fee of six British pounds per transaction when using the Ryanair Cash Passport to book your reservation on Ryanair and — in addition — if you use either American Express, Visa or MasterCard to pay for your airfare, you will be charged an extra two percent per person per transaction.
As first reported by The Gate, Ryanair introduced its new pre-paid Ryanair Cash Passport MasterCard in October of 2011.
The elimination of the waiver of the administrative fee of six British pounds is being blamed on the United Kingdom Office of Fair Trading, which declared that policy as being unfair, reportedly citing that debit card customers should not pay an administration fee unless it is properly initially disclosed with the airfare.
Ryanair is obliged to abide by the decision — but is forcing all of its customers to pay the administration fee merely a form of retaliation?
I have no problem with a company attempting to squeeze out as much profit as it can from its revenue, as long as the customer is being treated fairly. What in the world does an “administrative fee” cover, anyway?
To me, an administrative fee is vague — similar to a handling fee when you purchase an item to be shipped to your home. What is a handling fee, anyway? What does the handling fee cover that the shipping fee does not?
I do not like when a company advertises a low price for a product, only to have its savings negated by inexplicable fees. In all fairness, companies should advertise the absolute final price of a product or service, including all applicable fees and taxes — similar to what airlines in the United States must currently disclose. Only optional items should be excluded from the final price, left up to the discretion of the customer in terms of what he or she chooses to purchase in addition to the original price.
Ryanair should be more transparent to its customers and include all of its unavoidable mandatory fees and taxes as part of the advertised airfare — and the sooner, the better. If Ryanair offers airfares which are truly less expensive than its competitors, it should have no problem abiding by this practice. To bait customers with unreasonably low airfares — only to pile on fees and taxes to what was an attractive airfare — is deceptive at best. It is also unfair to force consumers to take the time and effort to figure out all of the added fees and taxes before comparing the true airfares offered by Ryanair against its competitors.
You can send Ryanair a message where it hurts by refusing to fly as a passenger on their aircraft until they change their anti-consumer pricing policies.