Escape those travel charges!

It’s bad enough having to cough up even more pennies on the Air Passenger Duty tax just so you can go abroad for your holidays, and that’s the tax you know about, thanks to the government raising it again.  But there are a myriad of other charges thrown your way, from booking charges and supplements, to credit and debit card fees.  And if you aren’t a bit savvy when you’re booking your annual holiday, you could be short of more pennies than thought you might be… it’s quickly becoming daylight robbery!

So, let Heathrow Gatwick Transfers try to shed some light on where some of those charges may come from, and ways you may be able to protect yourself from them. 

Starting from the beginning… travel companies charge you to book by telephone principally because they get a cut of the additional revenue, and the worst telephone prefix?  Any number beginning with 090… and the worst culprit?  Ryanair.  Their telephone number for assistance when making a booking via their website is £1 per minute, and even higher if you’re calling from a mobile.  Numbers with the 0871 prefix tend to charge at around 10p per minute from a landline.  To avoid these charges altogether, book online.  Alternatively, search the travel company’s website for a standard rate telephone number… it’s often the one they reserve for overseas calls!

Most of the budget airlines offer you headline prices that are low, enticing you to book with them, but they hide in the small print excessively high and wide ranging extras, for example, fees for checking in your bags, fees for changing names on a booking, fees for choosing your seat prior to flying, fees to travel with sports equipment… you could find yourself paying almost twice as much as the original promoted price.  Before you hit that send button, add up the price of your ticket plus all the extra charges, then compare the final cost with another airline that is not such a budget airline, i.e. BA’s air fares include luggage check-in.  It could be cheaper in the long run.

We’ve all got used to taking our credit and debit cards abroad with us, it’s far more convenient than carrying around lots of foreign currency or travellers cheques.  However, make sure you know what you are being charged for using your card abroad, the fees can be quite extortionate!  On top of that are the charges that may be added to your card for making your booking with your credit or debit card, which could amount to as much as £48 for a family.  The good news is that the OFT has finally got involved and have stated that they will ban what they call ‘excessive’ fees from 2013.  But that may not be the end of the story… airlines and travel booking companies may simply re-name the charges as ‘administration’ fees.  Again, check the total cost and compare.

Visas… some countries require you to have them, such as China (£30), Russia (£115) and Brazil (£48), per person, before you are allowed to enter their country.  Unfortunately, you can’t avoid these costs but what you can do is make sure you apply early, fast-tracking your visa application could bring about an even higher fee.

Some British airports charge you a fee for departing the airport which is not included in your ticket price, and it is known as an ‘airport development fee’.  It appears that this fee is restricted to just the smaller airports around the country, for example, Blackpool charge you £10 per passenger over 16 years of age, whilst Newquay charge you £5.

And all this before you’ve even boarded your flight!  There are plenty of other charges that are there ready to trip you up, but we’ll cover those in a later article.  But there is one other area I’d just like to highlight… travel to the airport.  Rail fares in Britain are some of the highest in the world, and then you’ve got to worry about your luggage which, for a family, can amount to several big suitcases, as well as hand luggage.  At Heathrow Gatwick Transfers, we can pick you up from home and drive you to your destination airport in comfort, and safe in the knowledge that you will arrive in time, and relaxed, ready to start your holiday. 

At Heathrow Gatwick Transfers, we operate an efficient airport transfer service, with a range of vehicles including MPVs that can accommodate up to 7 people, plus luggage. We will monitor your flight departure times and make any necessary adjustments should your flight be delayed, and we can also collect you from the airport on your return and deliver you safely back home.  Oh, and one other thing, you avoid airport car parking fees, too!