Ryanair has changed its booking process to ensure it is now compliant with European regulations.

Passengers now get a clearer idea of total costs as the airline states the price of all unavoidable charges at all times.

Previously, it only listed the base fare in the price first displayed to bookers.

The taxes & charges, check-in fee and levy to cover compensation payouts were only displayed in a less prominent box in smaller font, which could have been missed, leading to an unrealistically low expectation of the cost.

The extras often double the overall price. A flight from London to Krakow on Ryanair on 18 August cost £82 today, but only £43 of that was the base fare.

EU rules state, as they did well before Ryanair's change: "The final price to be paid shall at all times be indicated and shall include the fare, as well as all taxes charges, surcharges and fees which are unavoidable and foreseeable at the time of publication."

Total cost still unclear

Consumers still won't necessarily know the total cost until they get to the end of the booking as they are charged for checked luggage and paying by most forms of plastic. This is in line with most other budget airlines and is within the rules. However, these regulations are under review.

Jenny Keefe, MoneySavingExpert.com consumer products analyst, says: "Ryanair has taken a step in the right direction by manning up and making taxes and online check-in fees more transparent. Although really it's just bringing itself in line with what should have been done anyway.

"However, the booking page still doesn't show so called 'extras' such as £12 per person return if you pay by credit OR debit card – avoidable only if you jump around like a performing monkey and pay with a niche Prepaid Mastercard."

Ryanair was the last of the major airlines to make this change, which happened in June, after pressure from the Office of Fair Trading and the regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Iain Osborne, CAA director of regulatory policy, says: "Consumers should be presented with clear information about the price of their flight throughout the booking process."

Ryanair's Stephen McNamara says: "To continue to deliver unrivalled price transparency and underline just how low Ryanair's fares are, we have been displaying total price information, with a breakdown between airfare, taxes etc for over two years.

"In June, having discussed any potential improvements to this page with the OFT, only one slight tweak was required, so now total price is also displayed in 'Select a Flight' on the same screen. This tweak makes no real difference to the passenger as at all times the total outbound, inbound and combined fares were displayed and clearly obvious before moving to the next screen."

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