ANN CAHILL: Misleading air fares to be outlawed

FROM tomorrow what you see must be what you pay when it comes to airline tickets.

The days of being promised a flight for 1 cent and discovering it ends up costing you €100 are gone.

Now even the advertisements must show the true cost, inclusive of all taxes, fees and charges.

Extras, like luggage, must be made known at the start of the booking process and customers must opt-in for items like insurance rather than being pre-ticked.

The legislation has been threatened by the EU for some time and was finally agreed by the European Parliament last month.

It was prompted by a myriad of complaints from consumers who felt they were being fooled by airlines, including Ryanair, that advertised one price, but failed to mention the rest of the charges until the online paying process.

Antonio Tajani, vice-president of the European Commission with responsibility for transport, said: “With price transparency, passengers will know in advance how much they are going to pay and will be able to make informed choices.”

As well as advertising the true cost of flights, the breakdown between airfare, taxes, airport and other charges, must be specified clearly on the booking pages.

And all optional extras, including fuel surcharges, must be given in an easily understandable way at the start of the booking process.

The new law also bans price discrimination on the basis of where a person lives. This should stop the practice of passengers booking online in one member state being charged a different price from that applied to people in another country.

The rest of the legislation gives member states more oversight on companies to guarantee quality, ensure safety and prevent bankruptcies.


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