Expedia throws down the gauntlet on booking fees

On March 14, 2011 at 09:00 AM

The world’s largest online travel company, Expedia, has thrown down the gauntlet with local competitors who continue to charge their customers booking fees which, according to Expedia, offer no value to customers.

While Expedia.com.au continues to lead the campaign against fees, some online travel agents (OTAs) in Australia continue to charge customers fees of up to $50 to book a flight. They also charge various fees to change/cancel a flight, hotel or package.

Research* commissioned by Expedia late last year found that almost three quarters of Australians are angered when websites charge fees and believe they should not be charged.

The key findings from the research* are:

  • 92% of Australians say they do not like hidden fees and want to see what they are paying upfront
  • Almost three quarters (74%) of Australians believe that booking fees belong on the scrap heap
  • Almost two thirds (64%) of Australians say that if they see a booking fee they will stop and check other websites
  • 88% of respondents resent websites that show them all the fees only after they have completed the booking
  • 74% of Australians say they feel angry when websites charge fees as they are the ones doing all the work
  • 86% of Australians feel that if they have been charged a change/cancel fee by the airline or accommodation provider, they shouldn’t also be charged a fee by the travel agent.

Nicolas Chu, General Manager, Expedia Australia and New Zealand, said: “Australians should be made aware of the amount of money they pay in fees, particularly flight booking fees, with other travel websites. These fees offer absolutely no value whatsoever to the traveller. At Expedia, we believe we should put the traveller first, not how much money we can make from them in fees.”

About 18 months ago, Expedia removed booking fees on all flights booked through its Australian and New Zealand websites, Expedia.com.au and Expedia.co.nz. The two websites subsequently also eliminated Expedia change and cancellation fees on all flights, hotels, packages and car reservations booked on the sites.

Expedia.com.au has also launched a new multi-million dollar marketing and advertising campaign in Australia on flight booking fees.

Notes to editors

*Research conducted by Sweeney Research among 800 Australians

**Comparison table of flight booking fees charged by the various OTAs.

**Charges incurred by booking an International flight – Australia OTAs:

Travel Company

Charges for International flight bookings

Expedia

Free

Webjet

$49.90 per booking

Webjet

$35.90 (New Zealand and Pacific flights only) per booking

Jetabroad

Up to $30 per booking

BestFlights

$18.95 per booking

Wotflight

$16.95 per booking

Harvey World Travel

$14.95-$19.95 per booking

Travel.com.au

$14.95 per booking

Lastminute.com.au

$14.95 per booking

**Charges incurred by booking a Domestic flight – Australia OTAs:

Travel Company

Charges for Domestic flight bookings

Expedia

Free

Webjet

$30.90 per booking

Jetabroad

$27 per booking

BestFlights

$18.95 per booking

Wotflight

$16.95 per booking

Flight Centre

$16.95 per booking

Escape Travel

$16.95 per booking

Harvey World Travel

$14.95-$19.95 per booking

Travel.com.au

$14.95 per booking

Lastminute.com.au

$14.95 per booking

**About the charges

  1. The above fees were found by searching for flights on the websites of each of the above travel companies at 10:30 am (AEST) on Monday, 7 March 2011. Therefore, the fee comparison is based on the information provided by those companies about the additional fees they may charge when booking a domestic or international flight online.
  2. This table is only meant to give an idea of the additional fees there are often charged by other travel companies and is not a quote or an assessment of the airfare price differences between travel companies.  Some travel companies also charge different booking fees for bookings made over the telephone.
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