back to article When buying an air ticket on your mobe - what makes you give up?

Thirty-four per cent of Chinese flyers have booked a ticket on a mobile phone in the last year, compared to 6 per cent globally, but that's ramping up as customers expect to manage all their transactions on the move. WorldPay, which spends most of its time processing electronic payments of all kinds, has been talking to …


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  1. LarsG


    Airlines are the worst for this.

    Low advertised cost of the seat, then factor in baggage tax, debit card tax, airport tax, flight time tax, pre-booking tax, extra legroom tax, and a ticket that is advertised for £25 suddenly becomes £150.

    That's probably why, as in my case with Flybe, the advertised cost went up by almost 600%.

    If they were more open about it less people would book but less would cancel the booking process.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cost

      By the time you get to the checkout the price has quadrupled or more, and you realise that you can't afford the ticket any more.

    2. Gaz Jay

      Re: Cost

      RyanAir are the worst for this.... so much so that they actively prohibit price comparison sites, screen-scrapers and consolidators from including their flights within the results.

      They advertise their flights for as little as 1p (really they do)... but then you realise you HAVE to add airport tax & surcharges and that is before they try to peddle their priority boarding - extra legroom etc...

      Because they know that a screenscraper would be able to automate the unselection of these options, they employ capatcha type systems to prove you are a real human.

      Oh - and if you don't check-in online... theres a surcharge for that.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cost

      This is when you keep a cheat sheet next to you:

      Ryanair charges:

      blah £x



      blah £x


      You see the price, you automatically add those charges that you *know* you need on, and compare to legacy airlines (like BA/whoever). I've found that for the extra 20 quid difference between legacy and low-cost airline, I'll go for legacy because I know they are more flexible on luggage allowances (so if you're a couple of kilos over, they don't get shirty).

  2. Fihart

    There seems to be a self-defeating sadism in the online sales channel. Ditto those who "design" complex automated phone answering systems. If the latter confused one, it used to be possible to wait silently until connected to a real person, but some systems now just end the call. Much the same with call centre staff who recite from scripts -- I just warn them I'm about to hang up.

    Once any such task becomes an ordeal, abandon and seek an alternative.

    Sometimes I've been so maddened I've written via snail mail to the CEO of the company concerned. At which point, usually, a middle class flack will phone you, apologise and sort things out.

    I suspect this is the only way that large companies will realise that their 'efficient' customer interface is actually driving business away.

    1. Crazy Operations Guy

      Getting to people on Phones

      usually pressing # or '0' will get you to a real person. Or use a TTY system, companies are required to support it and its purely text-based, so no waiting for the thing to cycle through all options until you find the one you need or having to wait for it to cycle back through because none of them did...

      1. David Given

        Re: Getting to people on Phones is an incredibly valuable resource for this sort of thing. Which is a bit sad, really.

        Also, has geographic numbers you can call instead of national-rate ones, which are frequently loads cheaper. Well worth using.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The problem is we have two browsers open at the same time, and after struggling with BrianAir or SleazyJet for a bit we get to the end and then realise if we add on the taxi fare from the far far away airport to the city we wanted in the first place, oh! look it's as cheap or nearly as cheap to use BA and not have a latvian trained (safety and evacuation techniques) cabin crew that has been awake for the last three days, and been on a diet to keep down the aircraft weight (I kid you not) to greet you.

    So hello BA goodbye cheapo airlines.

    1. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

      Re: Surely

      Been flying with a certain orange branded airline quite a lot for the first time recently and they are both as bad as expected but then not as bad and the BA flight to the same destination is still around £100 more than the not so orange alternative. Gatwick is also more convenient for me than Heathrow.

      I tried their app last time and it seemed OK - I even got to say no to insurance and had to add in the baggage.

      Bit rambling but there you are. If you ask me booking a train is more stressful than booking a flight - in blighty at least.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Surely

        Not sure where your booking your trains, but I find that much easier than booking a flight!

        1. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

          Re: Surely

          You never travelled Last Worst Western then?

          Beer because the sun is shining - in Gib where I would rather be.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cheap Flights song

    We received an invitation in the post one Monday morn'

    To attend our cousin's wedding in the town where we were born

    The do was back in Kerry; so wishing to be frugal

    We trawled the 'net to find some decent travel deals on Google

    Cheap flights, cheap flights, cheap as they can be,

    Bedad we found an airline selling flights for 50p.

    (Diddly aiden daidin daidin dai)

    ...many more verses omitted; well worth reading it all at the link above.

    1. Tony S

      Re: Cheap Flights song

      There is also a video available. Lolled until the tears ran down my trouser legs!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cheap Flights song

        The video is so much more entertaining than just reading the lyrics.

  5. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    For long haul flights I tend first to check which airline is cheapest through budgetair/cheaptickets/any other comparison site. Once found I check out the websites of the two cheapest airlines found, often to find they have an even cheaper offer if you order directly from them.

    Cheapskate, perhaps, but hey, it works.

  6. The BigYin

    Make it simple

    Show the "price on the plane" cost for a ticket which includes all surcharges, taxes etc. All the "extras" like insurance and what not, I can add on later if I feel like it.

    By the time you've added on all the hidden-extras, the likes of EasyJet can be nearly as much as Lufthansa or someone; so I pay the bit more and get some decent customer service.

  7. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    HIdden Extras

    I thought the ASA (Or was it the EU ?) were clamping down on these compulsory hidden extras and saying that the headline quoted price must be what the customer needs to pay for the service.

    Or am I living in my fantasy land where the ASA actually works to protect the consumer ?

  8. Diogenes
    Black Helicopters

    Abandoned mine when I saw the "you live in australia tax"

    SWMBO & I were looking at flying from Sydney to San Francisco to visit SWMBO's aunt. As she has flown the route many many times, and we are first timers we rang and asked for a few tips (eg stop overs & airlines to avoid).

    She and us were looking at the same comparison site, at the same time with same search criteria , and both had currency set to AUD. Aunt was seeing prices 250-300AUD cheaper for the same flights and strangely "taxes" were lower as well.

    We both went through the booking process all the way to just before the "yes book me" step together and she had fewer and cheaper "extras" shown in her "cart" so we let aunt finish the transaction and book from her end. In all we saved 655AUD between us (on flights originally quoted here at 2578 + booking fees(each)).

    SWMBO's aunt also passed on tip to clear cookies and cache when looking a flight comparison sites - otherwise you see prices creep up a little each time (something we noticed - every time we looked flights went up between $20-40 ). Curious to see if it worked I did a CCleaner run and restarted browser and saw the quoted price drop $100.

    Now looking forward to dealing with TSA - sigh !

    1. Jay 2
      Thumb Down

      Re: Abandoned mine when I saw the "you live in australia tax"

      A big +1 for clearing cookies/cache etc. Whilst looking for some long haul flights a few months back the wife and I were using several different flight comparison sites as well as some airline sites to try and get the beat deal. In one case the price went up about £100 per seat. So after some swearing etc, we cleared the cookies/cache and waited 30 mins. Low and behold next time round the prices were back down again and so we booked the tickets.

      And a slight footnote based on @Diogenes TSA coment. They are a bunch of theiving bastards.

  9. Schultz
    Thumb Down

    Cost of a ticket

    Factoring in the >30 minutes of paid / unpaid work-time wasted on the booking systems raises the price of even the cheapest tickets. Add the extortionary 'pay more or you may need an extra hour at the airport' option of some famous orange airline to complete the idea of 'service' in this industry.

    I am sure they employ a lot of psychologists to determine the exact level of crap their customers are willing to take (and to invent new annoyance schemes). So at least the system creates work for everyone involved.

  10. David Given

    Things that raise *my* blood pressure when booking flights:

    (0) The total absence of any kind of universal transport management system. Want to make a connection from a flight to a train? SUCKS TO BE YOU.

    (1) The terrible, terrible user interface. Fill in outward journey, press search. Oh, look, I haven't filled in the return journey, so instead of assuming I want a one way journey it just fails with an error. Select the 'one way' checkbox. Outward journey details get cleared. Fill in outward journey again... sigh. Plus, of course, you have to use a selection of badly-designed custom widgets and drop down boxes to do all this, and no two airlines' work the same, and frequently they don't work at all. Tip to UI designers: drop-down boxes for day of month is *stupid*.

    (Still, the airlines do this better than the railway companies. The only way to find out whether a given London-Inverness sleeper train has vacancies is to actually try to make a booking.)

    Oh, and the session timeout is usually way too small, so if you try to compare two flights in different tabs, the details all vanish when you're not looking. I think Easyjet's is something ludicrous like five minutes.

    Deselecting all the extras I actually don't mind too badly --- it's just something I've got used to. Doesn't mean I like it, of course.

    (2) The stupidity that is Mastercard Secure / Verified by Visa.

    1. The BigYin

      1) Drop downs are not so terrible - nice to tab into a type. Smart people will do something like that *and* have a calendar picker.

      2) It's hilarious isn't it? You've just provided passport details, age and whatever else; then you get to the verify stage, click on "I forgot" (seriously, who remembers that bloody password) and it validates asking for information you have already provided! Wow!

  11. Blacklight

    It's not the buying...

    It's the use case for the e-ticket...

    1) UK (or indeed most) Airport security stations (where your boarding card is needed - "DO NOT USE MOBILE PHONES IN THIS AREA" - so if you haven't printed your on-line boarding card/barcode - hosed.

    2) Screens - if you do get the barcode up on screen, it doesn't always scan.

    3) Signal - No signal, no download - although one airline did provide me with a PDF I could save, with a barcode, but again, see (2) above.

    4) Print Quality - following on from (3) - I've printed a PDF in decent quality, only to find one of the two barcodes on the paper didn't work. This also seemed to be the case with the people in front of me in the queue.

    So, if you can use the phone to get a printed ticket from a machine, do so!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's not the buying...

      Ummmm, not true. The companies that support mobile boarding (like BMI) have had the security staff at their terminals trained up. I've never had any problems anywhere with mobile boarding passes. The only response I've ever had was "Oh, it's one of those passes, put the phone under the scanner please".

      What should be used for mobile boarding is a QR code, not a barcode.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's not the buying...

      A few good points BUT...

      1) But your not using the mobile phone at that point... ;-) its only if your taking photos or making calls they get annoyed,

      2) yep a good reason to print it!

      3) always save a copy locally, especially for the return trip!

      4) Paper quality matters here to avoid bleeding, I've printed boarding passes many times and have had no problems.

      But one major thing you missed, airlines are out to gouge you, the pilots are overworked, the cabin crew is under payed and they are pushed to do things too fast...

      I prefer paying a bit more and flying with a decent carrier than a budget airline....

  12. D@v3

    reason to not book on a mobile

    The main reason that I have not tried to book a flight using my mobile, is because generally speaking, if im booking a flight, I'm not in so much of a hurry that I'm not already sitting in front of a PC, with a full size screen, keyboard, and mouse, instead of a piddly little touch screen.

  13. Harry

    "If they were more open about it less people would book"

    I'm not sure about that. If I had the need for an aircraft seat, a hotel booking or any other service, the ones that promise "the prices we advertise are the prices you will pay" would be the ones I'd look at first.

    Some car dealers are starting to understand this. Why not airlines, hotels and telephone companies too?

    Yes, *especially* telephone companies. Advertising "phone, broadband and TV for a misleading "just £xxx" which "excludes line rental" serves only to prove how completely and totally *dishonest* and untrustworthy you *all* are.

    And how incompetent Ofcom and ASA both are, but you already knew that anyway.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "failed payments"

    Or as we consumers like to call it..."Getting a quote".

    Unfortunately and unbelievably, the airlines seem to think that "How much is this flight?" suddenly means something completely different the instant you open your wallet.

  15. Big_Boomer

    Stupid marketing people

    Sooner or later these stupid marketing types will finally get it through their thick skins that if they rip off their customers, then they will lose repeat business and pretty shortly they will be unemployed.

    For intra-EU flights I use Air Berlin and similar.

    No bullshit, decent service, easy to book.

    Every time I try to book WankAir or CrapJet I get lost in the hopeless mess that is their online booking system and pretty soon I decide to bail. I never get to find out if they are cheaper or not.

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