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Booking Website Blindsides British Man With $124 “Service Fee” For $101 Trip

A British booking engine is drawing criticism after a traveler was forced to pay a $124 service fee.

Imagine receiving a quote for a flight, only to find out the price increased by nearly $124 immediately upon booking. That’s the exact situation one British traveler found himself in, and now he’s speaking out about it.

MailOnline reports the flyer — identified as “Matt” — is frustrated by the fact paying he ended up having to pay more in fees than he did for the cost of his flight. According to Matt, the trouble began when he found flights from London Stansted Airport (STN) to Stockholm, Sweden advertised for £65.40 roundtrip, around $101, on booking website fly.co.uk.

During the booking process, Matt claimed he had to uncheck boxes for travel insurance and several other services in order to get the £65.40 price. Upon completing his purchase, however, Matt says was charged £146.65, around $227, thanks to a nearly $124 service fee.

Matt's fly.co.uk booking. Left: checkout page / Right: confirmation page

Matt’s fly.co.uk booking. Left: checkout page / Right: confirmation page

When Matt contacted fly.co.uk to inquire about the fee, representatives were allegedly unable to explain the nature of the fees.

“Obviously I’m kicking myself for not checking, but I’ve booked literally hundreds of flights in my time, and maybe there’s been the odd £5 to £10 service fee … but there’s no way they can justify charging that much,” said Matt. “[Fly.co.uk] just couldn’t tell me what the fee was for.”

Although fees are a regular part of booking flights, most companies charge under $124 in service fees. According to research, typical fees through online travel agencies in Britain cost between $17.54 and $46.53. Under the terms and conditions of fly.co.uk, however, the company “may charge a booking service fee which will be notified to you separately during the booking process.”

Matt, who says he was not shown the total booking cost before his credit card was authorized for payment, is calling for fly.co.uk to make its policies more transparent by stating the fees upfront and detailing what each fee is for.

Fly.co.uk is owned by Unister, a German e-commerce company. Unister did not respond to a request for comment.

[Photos: iStock, MailOnline]

Comments are Closed.
Chilangoflyer July 14, 2015

I do not know the British law about breech of contract exactly, but I think Seriously lost is right. It could very much also be a breech European law, under which the total price including all service fees must be visible on the first website.

SeriouslyLost July 13, 2015

It would be a breach of the merchant agreement for whichever card company was involved.

AAJetMan July 13, 2015

If indeed the total amount was not revealed prior to the credit card charge, wouldn't that be fraudulent? In any case, if something looks to good to be true.... I used to get excited about HotWire hotel rates for Vegas...until I noticed $20-30 per day "Usage Fees"! Fortunately, I researched before I spent.