Cut-price airlines agree to advertise real prices

15 May 2007
The majority of the cut-price airlines told to make their pricing more transparent have complied, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has announced.

Holiday and travel suppliers were warned on February 9th to make the costs of flights advertised reflect real prices, including fixed non-optional costs, which customers have no choice about paying, in the basic headline prices.

Too often, customers were choosing a flight online, only to find costs for tax, taking baggage on board or travel insurance were automatically added, without any opt-out clause.

Giving consumers an indication of true cost is essential if they are to "make like-for-like comparison of prices" and choose what is genuinely the cheapest deal, OFT chief executive John Fingleton stressed.

The airlines which do give customers reliable information should not be "disadvantaged" by their honesty, he added.

The majority of the airlines the OFT contacted agreed to review pricing practices, while others will be subject to OFT enforcement action.

But the watchdog will continue checking that airlines have updated their TV, online and billboard advertising and adjusted flight cost claims made on their websites to ensure that customers are offered a fair representation of true cost.

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