Ryanair customers will soon be hit with a new fee when they purchase tickets unless they use the airline's own prepaid MasterCard.
The Dublin-based discount airline announced Tuesday that starting Nov. 1 customers who use other forms of plastic will pay an administrative fee of 6 pounds (about $9.50) for each one-way flight _ so double the fee for a round-trip ticket.
Consumer groups criticized the move from an airline already well known for an array of fees.
Richard Lloyd, executive director of the UK consumer-advocacy group Which?, said Ryanair was making it difficult for customers to avoid a surcharge when paying for flights. He called on the UK government to ban charges on debit cards that only appear at the end of the online booking process.
Ryanair Holdings PLC spokesman Stephen McNamara countered that the airline offers low fares and no fuel surcharges and gives customers a way to avoid the booking fee.
Currently, Ryanair waives its "admin fee" of 6 pounds for customers who use any MasterCard prepaid debit card.
Ryanair said it will sell the new card on its site for 6 pounds and give buyers a travel voucher in the same amount.
Ryanair charges fees for a variety of services including checking bags, priority boarding, reserving a seat and carrying a musical instrument or infant gear such as a car or booster seat. The airline says it charges such fees to keep fares as low as possible for passengers who don't require extras.