The new fee is being applied to all bookings made from yesterday, and will be displayed as part of the final fare at the first stage of the booking process on the easyJet website.

easyJet insisted that the change to its booking process would “make booking flights with the airline even more transparent”.

Previously, the carrier charged an £8 booking fee for debit card purchases – which was not displayed until the latter stages of the booking process –  and waived extra charges for passengers that paid using Visa Electron cards.

The new change effectively means that those paying by debit card will see a £1 rise in fares, as the former £8 booking fee has been scrapped, and Visa Electron users will see a £9 rise.

Those using credit cards to book flights with easyJet will be subjected to the admin fee and a credit card fee too. The latter is to cover the extra handling costs.

The carrier said in a statement: “Following its consultation with the Office of Fair Trading and other European Regulators Easyjet has decided to phase out Visa Electron as a free payment option from January 12, 2012. As fewer banks are now issuing Visa Electron across Europe fewer consumers were able to use this payment method. The majority of our customers will therefore be unaffected by this change.”

The move follows plans by the UK Treasury last year to ban excessive charges on purchases made by debit and credit card.

The Office of Fair Trading calculated that travellers spent £300m on card surcharges in the airline industry alone in 2010.

The new £9 admin fee will be applied just once regardless of the number of flights purchased per booking.

easyJet that this would benefit “the overwhelming majority” of its customers that “book multiple flights or flights with multiple passengers”.

Picture: Getty