CAA & OFT to review travel & airline websites to ensure they are not misleading

Added 26/03/2013

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Lots of us have been tempted by an extremely low flight price only to find that it doubles by the time we get to the check out.Well, the good news is that new guidance from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Office of Fair Trading (OFT) aims to put an end this type of frustrating customer experience.

The CAA and OFT have launched new guidance for airlines, travel agents, tour operators and price comparison sites to ensure that the information they provide to customers is clear, transparent and timely. And they will soon be reviewing websites to ensure that the guidelines are followed.

Although there are no new regulations in this area, the CAA and OFT aim to remind travel companies of their responsibilities under existing UK laws.

The main obligations which travel companies are being reminded of are:

  • Flight headline prices must include all unavoidable and foreseeable charges — including taxes, fees and other compulsory charges.
  • Information about optional extras, including hold baggage, must be clearly available from the first stage of the booking process.
  • Optional extras must not be pre-selected.
  • The name of the airline must be clearly visible from the start of the booking process.
  • Clear information about financial protection must be displayed to customers.
  • Terms and conditions must be clearly visible and easy to understand.

The guidance is intended to make life easier for UK travellers and holidaymakers by ensuring that they have access to clear information, can make a well informed choice about the product they are buying and will not be surprised by any hidden charges.

Director of regulatory policy at the CAA, Iain Osbourne said

“To make sure no one is misled about what they are buying in the future, we have worked with the OFT to produce this guidance and ensure that the travel industry is fully aware of its legal obligations to consumers.”

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