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Three quarters of British holidaymakers have NEVER managed to get a budget flight for the headline advertised price

23 June 2013

8 out of 10 say that flight prices are misleading

New research from Gocompare.com has found that three quarters (76%) of UK holidaymakers have never managed to get a budget flight for the headline advertised price, and nearly 9 out of 10 (86%) believe that flight prices are misleading.

According to the survey, 8 out of 10 (84%) felt that a ‘cheap' flight was one where they could book a return flight for under £100. But only 35% of Brits have managed to bag a flight for £100 or less in the past five years, with 1 in 10 (12%) saying the least they had paid for a return flight was over £300.

Budget airlines advertise their flights as a cheap way to see the world but nearly 9 out of 10 (88%) Brits felt that budget flights weren't low cost once taxes and other extra charges were added.

Top five budget airlines with the most misleading flight prices, according to Brits;

1)      Ryanair

2)      easyJet

3)      Jet2.com

4)      Flybe

5)      Monarch

Top placed Ryanair claims to offer flights from as little as £22.99 but it seems the majority of Brits aren't getting these deals, with less than 15% having bagged return flights for under £50 in the past five years.
Gocompare.com looked into the actual cost of booking a return flight from the airlines voted to have the most misleading prices and found that in one example admin fees and taxes accounted for nearly half the advertised price of the return flight.

Budget flights table

People looking to travel with young children may also face unexpected charges. Even though most airlines will not give you a separate seat for your baby (usually classed as children under the age of two), some airlines still charge parents a fixed fee to have their child sit on their lap. For example, Ryanair charges £30 per flight for an infant and easyJet charges £20 per flight.

Caroline Lloyd, travel insurance spokesperson at Gocompare.com said, "At first glance, low cost flights look like a great way to take a family holiday or mini break on a budget but we've found that there are often hidden costs that can drive the cost of your flight much higher than the advertised price.

"Many airlines will charge you for ‘extras' such as reserving seats or ordering an in-flight meal. However, there can also be less obvious charges like a fee for paying on a credit card or an online booking charge for the flight. It's important that you are aware of these costs before you book your flight as they can significantly affect the amount you'll pay. In one example we found that the cost of a return flight increased by £75.36 by the time we had added luggage, reserved a seat and had been charged fees that weren't included in the advertised cost of the outbound and inbound flights.

"In a recent survey, we found that 1 in 10***** people haven't made any summer plans yet. The allure of a so called cheap flight can make a last minute break seem appealing, but make sure you don't focus on the headline price alone because although a flight may seem cheaper with one provider, by the time you take extra fees into account you might not be getting the great deal you bargained for."


Notes to editors:

On the 19th-23rd April 2013, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 2,015 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panelists. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

* Prices are representative of 1 adult flying to Alicante from London for 7 days on a return flight departing 3rd August and returning 10th August. No additional services e.g. in flight meal or connections were selected. The cheapest option for luggage and seating was selected, when available

** No flight was available from a London airport on the selected dates. Flight departs on the 2nd August and    returns 9th August. Flight departs from Exeter.

*** No flight was available from a London airport on the selected dates. Flight departs from East Midlands

**** Though customers are notified that the advertised cost includes all fees and taxes. easyJet does not offer a breakdown of the price.

***** Between 20th - 27th May 2013, Gocompare.com polled 1,571 customer with the question "What are your summer plans this year?"11% of respondents answered ‘I haven't made any plans yet'