Thursday 23 November 2017

Play your cards right and pay less when booking flights

As we can see on these pages, flying away for a short break can result in a raft of charges but with some clever booking tactics, you can avoid the worst of the administration fees.

We have shown how Ryanair charges €6 per person per flight, and if you are a family of four that will add €48 to the price you pay. Fly with Aer Lingus and their handling charge is €5 per person each way, so for your family of four you'll have to add €40 to the airfare, taxes and charges.

With any luck you'll be flying again over the summer and you can avoid paying these charges by using the right card.

The 'right' card is basically whatever payment card the airline decides will attract no handling or administration fee.

Right now that is the pre-paid Mastercard debit card for Ryanair and the Visa Electron for Aer Lingus. With these cards you load them with cash in advance, but there are charges associated with them.

So if you only use the card once there won't be much savings but if you fly regularly (and for group bookings) the savings will add up.

The pre-paid Mastercard debit card:

Cost -- €6.

You pay a loading fee of €3.50 for amounts between €10 and €350 and €5.95 for higher amounts. There is a transaction fee of 2.95%. This card has no monthly fee but if it is inactive for more than three months you'll be charged €3.50 per month.

Cost -- €12.95.

You pay a loading fee of €3.50 if you top up at a Payzone or Paypoint outlet and €1 for a bank transfer. The transaction fee is 2.95% to a maximum of €2.

Cost -- €10 annually.

You'll have to open up a Moneybookers account for this one, but there are no loading fees if you top-up from your laser card or do a bank transfer. The charge is 1.9% if loading from a credit card. There is no transaction fee.

Cost -- nothing.

You'll need the physical rather than virtual card and there is a loading fee for transfers from your credit card at 1.75%. There is no transaction fee.

Cost -- nothing.

This is a virtual card and the loading fee from credit cards is 3%. There is no transaction fee.

Cost -- nothing.

This card comes from Bishopstown Credit Union in Cork so is only available to members in that area. There are no charges for loading cash or for transactions.

The Visa Electron card:

Cost -- €7.49 for a physical card but nothing for a virtual one.

The loading charge is 4.95% from a credit or debit card. There is no transaction fee. If you have an Entropay account you can also use it to get a pre-paid Mastercard debit card.

Irish Independent

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