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Air fares: Budget flyers lambasted over last-minute fees

Budget airlines are under fire again for how they advertise their fares.

Consumer group Which? said passengers regularly pay more than the advertised price because of last- minute costs. Airlines are charging extra fees for items that in the past would be included in the price of a ticket, such as luggage check-in. These are adding as much as £28 to fares, Which? added.

Big players like easyJet and Ryanair charge extra for paying by credit card. Ryanair also levies a fee for priority boarding and failing to check in online. In response to the Which? criticism, Ryanair said its charges were easily avoidable.

How airlines advertise fares has long been a bone of contention. The Office of Fair Trading introduced rules that airline taxes and other compulsory fees must be included in the headline price. Which? would like to see this extended to charges for services such as checking in baggage.

But the OFT said it did not object to airlines imposing extra fees provided they were "genuinely optional".