The European Parliament this week adopted the Taylor Report on Passenger Rights with an overwhelming majority vote. The report calls on the Commission to strengthen legislation to ensure price transparency and combat unfair commercial practices by some airlines. The report also calls on harmonisation of industry standards, for example on baggage rules.
The practice of advertising a low fare, while hiding fees for anything from payment to seat selection and check-in, is making it very difficult for consumers and travel buyers to compare offers in the air travel market in a fair manner. The choice that appears the cheapest may actually be the most expensive in the end.
The Parliament sends a very strong signal to the Commission on the need to clarify the definitions in Article 23 of Regulation 1008/2008 so that “the advertised price is an accurate reflection of the final price”, to quote the report.
We support airlines with the technology to sell ancillary services like preferred seating, and believe that these services are an important source of airline revenue and differentiation, as well as adding consumer choice. But we don’t believe they should be hidden on an airline’s website.
We believe that the core service fees must be identified to the travel buyer, so that an “apples-to-apples” comparison of alternative offers is possible across all distribution channels. We believe this should include fees for payment, seat selection, check-in, and baggage, to name a few.
We also believe it is critical that you should be able to book or purchase these services with your flight, so that you are not forced to visit another website to find out if you can actually sit together with your children when taking the family trip. And then perhaps find that these seats are taken.
Which services do you believe should always be identified by the airline, so that you can compare offers?