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Ryanair Brainstorms Imaginative Way to Fine Customers for Buying Tickets

September 16, 2011 at 4:30 PM | by | ()

Irish LCC Ryanair is notorious for inventing obscure fees that other less innovative airlines - which is to say, airlines that are not driven by hate for their customers - would simply never imagine. Among the most obnoxious is the airline's credit card fee, which is so tangled that even we couldn't avoid it back on a project where we were actively, professionally trying to avoid all fees.

So naturally, Ryanair has taken that exact fee and found a way to make it even more unpleasant. Yeah we know. We were surprised too.

The way the credit card booking fee works is not totally straightforward. According to EU regulations, Ryanair can't just charge you extra money for buying a ticket. They can't list an itinerary at £10, for instance, and then charge you another £5 just for making the purchase. That's not a £5 fee on a £10 ticket, it's just a £15 ticket—and Ryanair would be obligated to list the advertised fare accordingly. For something to be a fee there actually has to be a way to avoid it.

Ryanair being Ryanair, what they did is choose some random card that functionally nobody has—most recently it's been a particular Mastercard pre-paid debit card available from a few regional banks—and make using that the only way to avoid a £6 booking fee. They've also routinely cycled the required card, just in case any of their customers went through the hassle of getting the right card.

Apparently someone at the company looked at the situation and said "we're not squeezing enough money out of this screwjob." Ergo their recently announced plan, set to go into effect in November. The airline is changing the required card again—because why not—but this time the new card they're forcing on customers is a Ryanair branded prepaid card. If you don't use the Ryanair card, you get charged the £6 booking fee. If you do use the Ryanair card...well, you get the idea.

Honestly, why do people fly this airline? Their fees aren't that good. Seriously. We checked.

[Photo: Marcela / Wiki Commons]

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