Expedia.co.uk reveals UK’s attitudes to taxes and charges

Reports in the media suggest that Which? is planning to lodge a super-complaint with the Office of Fair Trading, asking it to investigate the level of fees imposed by some companies when customers pay for flights with credit or debit cards. Expedia.co.uk does not apply its own credit card fees or automatically add charges for additional services to the price at the end of the booking process.

In the wake of this debate, Expedia has undertaken research to better understand consumer attitudes to fees and travel booking charges.

The survey commissioned by Expedia and run by independent research company, ResearchNow questioned over 700 regular UK travellers.  It was supported by in depth interviews conducted by independent consultancy, The Value Engineers.

Low cost airlines have changed the way consumers think about flight booking fees.  Over 95% of travellers expect low cost airlines to charge additional fees on top of the headline price.  Consumers are resigned to the fact that booking travel will involve paying extra fees and charges.

A significant source of discontent is flight booking web sites that show an initially attractive price, but then add significant additional charges in the final stages of the booking process.  Around one in four consumers felt so strongly about this that they would abandon their booking to find an alternative deal out of principle on seeing such fees, even if the flight they had found met all their other needs.

While 32% of people considered it highly unacceptable to charge credit card fees, 53% stated that charging fees for debit card payments was a completely unacceptable practice.  During research interviews with The Value Engineers, respondents reported seeing wildly different levels of fees being charged for both credit and debit card payments on different web sites.

Other additional fees that irked customers were:

59% think check in fees at the airport are highly unacceptable

53% think online check in fees are highly unacceptable

44% think fees for checking in bags to the hold are highly unacceptable

21% think fees for online seat selection are highly unacceptable

Surprisingly, when asked about other potential fees that airlines might charge in the future, 84% stated that they would find it unacceptable to be charged to use the on-board toilet- meaning 16% might consider paying for the privilege!

Andrew Warner of Expedia, says, “The level of regulatory fees and taxes incorporated into flight prices in the UK has increased dramatically – particularly with the introduction of increased Air Passenger Duty levies. This has placed a higher cost burden on the British traveller.  They are looking for travel retailers to be open and fair when it comes to additional charges on their web sites.

“The consumer protection, offered by credit cards, means travellers are less reluctant to pay a small fee for using a credit card than a debit card.  However the fact that some companies do not reveal credit cardfees until the end of the booking process, if at all, can makeit harder for travellers to judge the best deal.  Expedia.co.uk does not apply its own credit card fees or automatically add charges for additional services to the price at the end of the booking process.”

In order to better enable travellers to make informed choices between airlines and flight deals, Expedia.co.uk is now highlighting those airlines who do not levy their own credit card fees upfront in flight search results.

DAA rejects Ryanair’s 1M passenger growth plan for Shannon

Ryanair, the world’s favourite airline, has confirmed that the DAA airport monopoly has turned down Ryanair’s offer to grow its Shannon traffic from 300,000p.a. to 1.3m p.a. passengers over the next five years, proving yet again that Dublin Airport doesn’t care about Shannon and can’t/won’t deliver traffic growth at Shannon.  The DAA has overseen the collapse of Shannon traffic from 3.6m passengers in 2007 to just 1.7m passengers in 2010:

Under a five year low cost agreement Ryanair grew its Shannon traffic from 400,000 to 1.9m in 2008/09 (prior to the Govt’s €10 tourist tax).

In April 2010 the DAA refused to extend this low cost base forcing Ryanair to cut traffic from 1.9m to 400,000p.a.

In Nov 2010 the DAA monopoly raised Shannon’s fees by 33% forcing Ryanair to further reduce its Shannon traffic from 400,000 to 300,000.

In 2010 Shannon’s traffic fell to 1.8m (from 2.8m in 2009) making it Europe’s worst performing airport.

In Jan 2011 Shannon’s traffic again fell by 37% as Aer Lingus closed its transatlantic operations for the winter months.

In Feb 2011 Ryanair offered the DAA 1m growth passengers at Shannon in return for the same discounts Aer Lingus enjoys at Dublin.

In March 2011 the DAA rejected Ryanair’s 1m traffic growth offer for Shannon.

The DAA’s response to Ryanair’s offer, which was that “no commercial airport in Europe could agree to these terms”, was patently untrue when the DAA’s Declan Collier already confirmed that it is giving these discount rebates to Aer Lingus at Dublin Airport, despite the fact that Aer Lingus delivers no growth at all.

Speaking in Shannon Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:

“Ryanair is the only airline willing and able to deliver dramatic new route and traffic growth at Shannon and the refusal by the DAA of Ryanair’s 1m passenger growth offer proves, yet again, that Dublin Airport has no interest in traffic growth at Shannon. If they did, Dublin would not have raised Shannon passenger charges by 33% in November 2010 (just four months ago) when inflation was 0% and Shannon traffic was collapsing. Furthermore, if the DAA was ‘committed to incentivising growth’ as Declan Collier claims, the DAA would have accepted Ryanair’s offer of 1m growth passengers at Shannon, on similar terms to those currently enjoyed by Aer Lingus at Dublin.

Instead of accepting the only traffic growth offer the DAA has received at Shannon, the DAA are holding ‘Conferences’ today in Bunratty Castle to discuss the serious issue of growing traffic at Shannon. This conference might have made some contribution if it was held in Shannon Airport where the various speakers could see how empty the terminal is but instead the DAA prefer to waste money renting Bunratty Castle, for a talking shop followed by a gourmet lunch for the exhausted speaker, instead of working with Ryanair, the world’s largest international airline, to add 1 million passengers at Shannon.”

20 Great Ways to Save Money at Disney World in 2011

Believe it or not, you can live it up at Walt Disney World Resort in 2011 without making a huge dent in your wallet. By planning ahead, seeking out the best online deals and following the money-saving tips listed below, you can enjoy significant savings on your Walt Disney World Resort vacation getaway – without sacrificing any of your family’s comfort or enjoyment.

1. If possible, plan your Walt Disney World Resort trip during the off-season and you will usually discover significantly lower airfares and hotel/resort rates.

2. Shop at area factory outlet stores such as Orlando Premium Outlets, which sells Disney merchandise at significantly lower prices than you will find at stores within the Disney World theme parks.

3. Check out some of the free things to do at Disney World such as strolling around Disney’s Boardwalk and Downtown Disney Area, or hiking through the Disney Wilderness Preserve.

4. Take the family to one of the all-you-can-eat buffets that lie just outside Disney World property such as Sweet Tomatoes, Boston Lobster Feast, Golden Corral, Ponderosa, Sizzler or Angel’s Lobster & Seafood Buffet.

5. You will discover numerous accommodation choices within a five- to 10-minute drive of the main entrance to Walt Disney World Resort. For instance, you can find incredible deals on spacious accommodations at Westgate Resorts properties that provide convenient access to Disney World theme parks such as Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa, Westgate Palace, Westgate Towers, Westgate Town Center and Westgate Vacation Villas.

6. Look for free publications such as I Love Orlando magazine, which contain a multitude of discount coupons to Disney area attractions, restaurants and specialty shops.

7. Check out comprehensive online guides to Disney World such as Orlando, Florida Guide for in-depth information on finding the best deals on Disney World tickets, accommodations and vacation packages.

8. For larger families, reunions or any other get-together at Disney World, it may make better financial sense to look into renting a spacious suite (see No. 5).

9. If you are visiting one of the Disney World theme parks with young children, don’t forget to bring along a backpack with some snacks or juice boxes.

10. Instead of spending a fortune at a Disney character breakfast, take your kids to Town Square at Main Street, U.S.A. in Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park for autograph and photo opportunities with Disney characters.

11. Choose the appropriate Disney World ticket deal based on your family’s length of stay in Orlando and remember not to overdo things – you will want to schedule time for rest and relaxation during your trip.

12. If you choose to eat at the Disney World theme parks, try to make lunch your big meal of the day when prices are considerably lower than for dinner (especially at Epcot’s World Showcase).

13. Whenever you leave one of Disney World’s theme parks, make sure to get your hand stamped. Then after you rest awhile and enjoy a cheaper dinner off site, you can head back to the park after the crowds have thinned out.

14. You may want to schedule your Walt Disney World vacation around one of Disney’s highly acclaimed annual events and festivals, many of which are included with the price of admission.

15. Carry your own water bottle into the Disney theme park and you can fill it up at any of the abundant water fountains throughout the day.

16. Establish a budget for Disney World souvenirs and stick to your budget (no matter how many cool gifts you see as you stroll through Epcot’s World Showcase).

17. If you are an AAA or AARP member, take advantage of any special rates or discounts that are available during your Disney World vacation.

18. Purchase such necessities as film and sunscreen before you arrive at Disney World, since prices at the theme parks are more expensive for such items.

19. If possible, try to avoid Disney World during holiday weekends and Spring Break when prices are higher and the theme parks are most crowded.

20. Check out the latest deals at Westgate Resort properties that provide convenient access to Walt Disney World Resort theme parks by visiting www.westgatedestinations.com