Fed up of headline cheap airline fares turning into an expensive wild goose chase? Well things have now changed.

Fed up of headline cheap airline fares turning into an expensive wild goose chase? Well things have now changed.

Following the OFT’s warning to the holiday and travel industry in February, the OFT has successfully taken action against 13 airlines that did not include all fixed, non-optional costs, such as taxes, in prices on their websites.

As a result eleven airlines have already changed their advertisements and websites (both their homepages and booking processes) to include fixed, non-optional costs in their advertised prices and the OFT expects continued compliance from these airlines.

As of 31 July, easyJet, bmibaby, Flybe, Thomsonfly, flythomascook (a trading name of Thomas Cook Tour Operations Limited), Monarch, Jet2, Globespan, Wizz Air, Sky Europe and Germanwings have changed their websites to include fixed, non-optional costs in all prices. Ryanair and Aer Lingus have changed their homepages to include fixed, non-optional costs with immediate effect. Technical issues have prevented both airlines from changing their booking processes by 31 July, but both have satisfied the OFT that they will do so as soon as it is possible. In the interim period, Ryanair has agreed to place a clear statement on its website to inform consumers how much the taxes and charges will add to the final price.

In a co-ordinated move, ABTA – The Travel Association has taken action against members that have failed to comply with the ABTA Code of Conduct in relation to the same type of misleading price indications. On 13 June, the ABTA Code of Conduct Committee handed out fines and reprimands to several ABTA members for failing to include fixed, non-optional costs in prices. The OFT strongly welcomes and supports ABTA’s action.

The OFT will be working with international partners, including the National Consumer Agency (NCA) in Ireland, to ensure compliance across the holiday and travel industry, and to ensure that the undertakings provided by the airlines are complied with.

Sean Williams, OFT Executive Director, said:

‘The OFT is committed to ensure that consumers are not mislead by advertised prices that bear little relation to actual prices. Misleading pricing not only undermines consumer confidence but also distorts competition and we will enforce the law enthusiastically where we find that consumers have been misled.’

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