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Air passengers hit in the pocket when it comes to spelling errors

Graeme Parton

Travel agents and airlines are charging holidaymakers as much as £160 to correct spelling mistakes in their booking details, it has emerged.

Recent research has revealed significant increases in the penalties for customer inaccuracies, with charges further adding to the mounting cost of the average family holiday.

Which?, the well-known consumer champion company, found that a number of firms are making the most of small-print rules to bring in extra money, particularly during the summer holidays. The most common cause for a fee is a changing of names – with many passengers making minor typos in the rush to book their dream trip.

Ryanair, for example, charges its passengers £110 to change the name on their online bookings. If this is done over the phone, however, there can be a bill for £160. Customers can be charged even if just one letter needs changing.

Monarch goes slightly easier on its passengers, charging £100 for an online name change or £120 for an over-the-phone correction. Minor spelling mistakes, however, are corrected for free.

Which? looked into the situation after one traveller, 70-year-old Frederick Hubbard, got in contact to say he had been charged £45 after he mistakenly missed an ‘e’ from his name when arranging a trip to the US with Mr. Hubbard was then informed that he would be required to book the flight again before waiting for a refund for the original purchase. He said:

“The whole principle of having to pay a charge as well as buy another ticket and wait that long for a refund, just to make a small spelling change, is lunacy. It could be £540 I don’t have.”

Which?’s findings just show how important it is to use the correct spelling and grammar first time round. In this case, minor mistakes can cause considerable financial damage to the customer. If a business makes an error on its website, however, the resulting damage could be even more significant.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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