Airlines are divided on whether the government should try to ban debit card fees on flight bookings.
The Office of Fair Trading has published a recommendation that debit card fees should be scrapped.
Paying with a debit card should be “the online equivalent to cash”, said Cavendish Elithorn, senior director of the OFT's goods and consumer group.
“You can't buy online with cash and people are frustrated about being asked to pay for paying,” he said.
“Consumers find it harder to shop around and find the best deal if they have to invest time and effort in discovering surcharges. This also weakens competition between retailers which is bad news for the UK economy.”
Easyjet, which currently charges £8 per booking with a debit card, has welcomed the OFT's proposal to scrap debit card fees.
Andrew McConnell, the airline’s corporate affairs manager, said: “Easyjet has built its reputation on making airline pricing simple and transparent.
“We want to make things easier for the consumer so we’d like to see card charges incorporated into the headline fare. However, for consumers to benefit there needs to be a level playing field.”
He suggested that while UK legislation would be a step towards a more equal grounding, the government should push for a European-wide solution.
“The only way to ensure consumers can make easier price comparisons,” he said, “is if a common treatment of card charges can be agreed across the whole of the transport sector in Europe (including train operators and online travel agents).
“EasyJet has offered to work with the OFT in bringing such a change about.”
Meanwhile Virgin Atlantic, which doesn’t charge for debit card bookings, has questioned the need for the OFT to get involved.
A spokeswoman for the airline said: "Virgin Atlantic does not levy charges on debit cards. However, we are surprised the OFT has felt this move necessary.
“We're a very competitive industry and it is up to individual airlines to choose whether or not to levy these charges.
“Provided potential passengers have a full explanation of the charges they will pay, it should be left to the consumer to make a free and informed choice on whether or not they're willing to pay them."
British Airways (BA) too was reticent about calling for all airlines to stop charging for bookings with debit cards.
A BA spokesman told ABTN it is “for each airline to make its own decision”.
“We already comply with it. We don’t charge for debit cards and we do market inclusive fares, so we don’t have a long list of add-ons. That’s how our business is,” he said.