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Jet2holidays and northeast travel agency chain Dawson & Sanderson have scrapped credit card fees at the beginning of the new year.

Jet2holidays and have dropped credit card charges on all flights and holiday bookings, having previously charged 2.5%, while Dawson & Sanderson, which has 20 branches, had charged 2.25% up until January 1.

Jet2 claims no other airline or tour operator has made the change, and that it is doing it “to make booking a holiday or a flight as friendly, convenient and competitively priced as possible”.

Dawson & Sanderson argued the credit card surcharge was “unethical” and “penalised many of its customers”.

While Jet2 said the decision to drop the charges was made independently of the government’s capping of interchange fees at 0.3% in December, Dawson & Sanderson said it had “made the decision slightly easier”.

“There are more transaction costs involved to a business other than the 0.3% and this only makes up part of the processing costs,” said Dawson & Sanderson managing director Chris Harrison.

“Hardware and software costs have to be considered as well as additional card scheme fee charges and additional processing charges which would inflate the 0.3%.”

He continued: “It was a concern that we were penalising customers who chose to pay by credit card.

“This is the ethical thing to do and it’s right that we take the lead on this. We are a family-owned, independent travel agency and it’s important that businesses such as ourselves are innovating within the industry.

“It’s about providing holidays and service beyond our customers’ expectations.

“A lot of customers prefer to use credit cards because they may be collecting reward points or find it more convenient to spread payments for larger purchases. Why should we be penalising our customers if they want to make that choice?

“Credit card surcharges can be a significant income stream for travel agencies, but it just does not feel right to be doing this to our customers when they may have been saving for months for their holiday.

“We are taking the lead on this but I fully expect it to be followed by all the major travel companies. We want our customers to be confident that the price they see is the price they pay.”

Dawson & Sanderson has ditched the surcharge on all credit card payments except for American Express and business credit cards.

Harrison added: “For an average family holiday, it’s perhaps a saving of £50 but for significant bookings, such as weddings, honeymoons or extended holidays, the saving can run into hundreds of pounds.

“A growing market for us is the over 55s, who may be taking advantage of the relaxed pension arrangements to book big one-off holidays.

“They are often very clever shoppers and good at spotting the best deals, so this could represent a significant saving for them.” and Jet2holidays chief executive Steve Heapy, said: “We pride ourselves in offering friendly low fares and great value package holidays and this is why we have decided to stop charging our customers for credit card bookings.”