The great travel industry rip-off – how hidden extra charges in my last trip cost me hundreds

The great travel industry rip-off – how hidden extra charges in my last trip cost me hundreds

Advisory note: the following article contains a rant. There is no extra charge for this.

But first, a couple of questions. Does a plumber install a new bathroom, then inflate the bill if you want to flush? Does an electrician rewire your house, then add a tenner if you want to switch a light on?

Nope? Then why, oh flipping why, does the travel industry slap on a surcharge at every possible opportunity?

What follows is a cautionary tale that we’ll call Ways I Got Ripped Off Last Weekend.

Low The Elder’s dedication to bouncing a ball involves travelling the country, usually with mother in tow.

Last weekend, we headed down south and due to time constraints, we had to fly. The fare to East Midlands airport for two people was just over £100 return. Not too bad.

Shari Low slams the travel industry for ripping off customers
Glasgow Airport named among worst in the world for passenger complaints – perhaps there were some gripes perhaps over surcharges

Then we added one check in bag for several flipper-sized basketball boots and it shot up by £52. Yep, £52! I wanted to put a holdall in a large steel tube, not have it gold plated and filled with chocolate truffles.

Next, reserved seating so we’d be sitting together. No problem, madam. That’ll be another £7.50. Each. Both ways. I decided just to wave to him.

Drop off fee at Glasgow airport – £2. I’d like to let the genius who implemented that system know that should he ever visit my street, there’ll be a fiver toll to get back out again.

On landing, we picked up our pre-booked hire car, a veritable bargain at £40 for two-and-a-half days. At least, so I thought, until we got to the desk and were informed the insurance we’d purchased came with a £1000 excess.

They claimed the only way to ensure we weren’t left out of pocket if some kind of perilous doom befell us – meteor strike, alien invasion, wean scraping the bonnet with a choc ice – was to take out super duper cover costing £26.50 per day.

I held back from pointing out that it was a Vauxhall Mokka, not a Bugatti Veyron.

Off we jollied to the hotel, where we learned it was a tenner a day to park the most over-insured car since Fast & Furious 8.

I considered comfort eating to salve the pain but breakfast was £14.95. How much bacon do they think one person can eat?

£14.95? No thanks

On the second day, I capitulated. I was working on a deadline for my next book so I requested room service brekkie. £3 extra tray charge. Plus tip.

At this point I gave up, nipped to the nearest Tesco, and bought four bananas, half a dozen rolls, a bar of Dairy Milk and a pint of milk – and happily stumped up 5p for a placcy bag. So the moral of the story? In numerical terms it’s this.

Hidden extras for a two day trip? About £300.

Number of times I’ll moan about it until the end of time? At least 23405.

Chances I’ll give any of those organisations business in future? Zero.

Oh, and the cheek of companies who think they can fleece a captive audience? Absolutely priceless.

And I’ll tell them that for free.

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