Airlines are coming under U.K. government pressure to disclose more information about the hundreds of pounds worth of extra fees that travelers can rack up after they book flights.
The U.K.’s Department for Transport intends to release an aviation policy on the charges, which can cover changing a passenger’s name or reissuing boarding cards, Aviation Minister Elizabeth Sugg said in an emailed statement.
“When passengers book flights, they can sometimes be hit with additional charges over and above the original quoted flight cost,” Sugg said. “Through our aviation strategy, we will explore ways to improve and enhance the information available, so passengers can make well-informed decisions.”
The extra fees represented a large chunk of about $45 billion in ancillary revenue for 66 airlines in 2016, according to a report released by CarTrawler, a company that supplies transportation technology. Ryanair Holdings Plc charges up to 160 pounds ($226) per passenger to change the name of the passenger on a ticket and 20 pounds to reissue a boarding card at the airport, according to the airline’s website.
“Ryanair does not have any ‘hidden charges,’” according to an airline statement in response to the government initiative. “All of Ryanair’s optional charges and fees are clearly outlined on the Ryanair.com website and displayed transparently throughout the entire booking process. We welcome any measures which combat unauthorized screen-scraper websites mis-selling airfares and including their own inflated, hidden fees.”
Tim Alderslade, chief executive officer of industry group Airlines UK, said in a statement that the association will respond to the government’s strategy on charges later this year.
In the U.S., President Donald Trump’s Transportation Department in December scrapped two efforts to make fare information easier for customers to understand, including requirements to disclose fees for seat assignments or checked bags. The decision was taken to reduce regulatory costs on businesses.
The Times reported the U.K. government’s plan earlier Saturday.
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