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The hidden extras airlines use to boost their profits

By Claire McNeilly

Airlines are hiking prices by up to £36 per person by imposing "hidden charges" for bags, better seats, extra leg room and speedy boarding, new research shows.

An analysis of 63 airlines discovered the amount of money collected for added extras went up by almost 21% last year amid a boom in the popularity of budget carriers.

Fees for checking in bags accounted for the bulk of the costs, followed by other charges for things like a better seat or access to the airport lounge.

For a second consecutive year Jet2.com was found to have the highest extra charges of any airline - an added £36.59 per passenger - while almost a quarter of Ryanair's income came from add-ons.

Scott Kennerley, head of transport at the Northern Ireland Consumer Council, said the extras mount up.

"Some airlines have additional charges for a range of services including checked baggage, credit card use and seat reservations," he said. "Our advice to passengers is to check additional charges before booking your flight."

The Consumer Council lists the additional charges applied to the flights of each airline operating in Northern Ireland in a useful Airline Additional Charges Table, which is available online at www.consumercouncil.org.uk.

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