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New Regulations forcing airlines to advertise ‘real’ prices have only been partially adopted.

How many of us have booked a flight with a low cost airline, lured by billboards advertising flights for only 1p? Then only to find that taxes, fees and charges applied on booking have pushed the price up by several thousand percent. Annoying isn’t it? In response to consumer complaints of being confused, mislead and frequently ripped off by airlines, new EU regulations have now come into force which require airlines within the EU to include all compulsory taxes and surcharges in published ticket prices. This means you’ll have a more realistic idea of how much you’ll be paying without having to go through the whole booking process.

Added to the annoyance of hidden charges was the automatic inclusion of other optional surcharges – such as priority boarding, checking in of baggage and insurances. So, unless you ‘unticked’ the boxes you would end up paying for them –whether you wanted them or not. The new regulations mean these ‘extras’ must be clearly and unambiguously set out on an ‘opt in’ basis, giving you more control over and awareness of what you actually end up paying for.

So, has the situation improved? Are we still being ripped off?

In a sweep of a handful of the UK’s most popular budget airlines, What Consumer has found that although taxes and fees are now included in all advertised prices, it is never the price you will end up paying.

What Consumer’s Catriona Bright said "Airlines will always quote the cheapest possible fare available at some point during the dates specified – chances are that this price will not be available on the day you want to fly. In addition to this, fares quoted are one-way, which is just as unrealistic as you’ll probably want to come back at some point”

Bright went on: “Unfortunately for consumers, the inclusion of taxes and surcharges does not cover the controversial payment handling fees, which most airlines charge for debit as well as credit cards. In the case of Ryan Air, this is currently £4 per adult, per one way flight!”

The sweep also found that optional ‘extras’ such as priority boarding, baggage and insurance were still routinely included as standard, rather than on an opt-in basis as per the new regulations.

Notes to editors:

The new regualtion is: Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council No 1008/08 of 24 September 2008, OJ L 239, 31 October 2008

About What Consumer:

What Consumer is a leading UK consumer portal providing a wealth of information on consumer rights, consumer forums and much more.

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Catriona Bright

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