Singapore Airlines scraps plans for credit card surcharges

Travellers who wanted to fly at a low fare with Singapore Airlines from Singapore to the Philippines and other destinations can breathe a sigh of relief for now.

Singapore Airlines Ticketing Office in Manila
Image by hybridace101

In a memo to sales agents, Singapore Airlines said that it decided not to implement a credit card surcharge 'following a further review'.  The carrier was due to introduce the surcharge on January 20 for passengers departing from Singapore who purchased an Economy lite fare.  The fee was supposed to be 1.30% of the ticket price's face value capped at S$50 (approximately ₱1,900, US$38, £28).  The carrier said that it has to do so due to the costs associated with processing transactions using a credit card.  Debit cards and Paypal transactions would have been exempt from the fee.  

Currently, Singapore Airlines imposes a credit card surcharge for passengers whose journeys originate from Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.  In fact, levying such surcharges also are common among European carriers and travel merchants.  UK carriers like easyJet and Ryanair, for instance, levy a 2-3% for payments done using a credit card.  Passengers who use a VISA or MasterCard-branded debit card, however, usually do not incur the said charges.  Like Singapore Airlines, the other companies claim that it is more costly for them to accept a credit card rather than a debit card.

In any case, Singapore Airlines passengers whose journeys commence in the Philippines would not have been subject to this new fee either.  Credit card surcharges for airline fees are generally not a practice in the country, yet.

However, this credit card surcharge would have just been the latest in a series of ancillary fees that legacy carriers have introduced as they try to compete with low cost carriers whilst staying profitable.  Such practices used to be more common in low cost and US carriers.

For instance, some carriers have introduced buy-on-board schemes for meals and snacks for economy class passengers.  British Airways is one of the carriers to recently adopt this scheme on its European flights in 2017 as it started teaming up with retailer Marks and Spencer.

An increasing number of carriers also now charge extra for passengers who purchased their cheapest fare bucket to check in their bags.  Having extra baggage to check-in can cost passengers up to $50 (₱2,500, £38) per piece and per kg charges at the airport are more exorbitant.

Legacy carriers also now impose additional fees for special economy class seats.  These special seats include seats with extra legroom, front row seats, two-seaters (instead of three).  Some carriers, especially in the US have even effectively made such seats a separate booking class altogether.  In fact, some carriers also charge some passengers for the privilege of choosing any seat before check-in opens.  

Free flight changes used to be commonplace.  Now, they are only reserved for those who pay the highest fare bucket.

Source: Channel NewsAsia


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