14 May 2009

EC Gets Tough On Air Ticket Pricing (Update - see at end)

The European Commission is on a mission to force airline tickets to be displayed to the consumer as clearly and as plainly as well as - er - paint. Thus the price offered is the price you pay. A collision course you might say with the airlines and their distributors who are trying to drive ancillary revenue from add-ons. Something that many airlines believe and are now demonstrating is actually saving their behinds.

The EC has a clear position and has enacted legislation to ensure that the conditions are clear and unambiguous. EC Vice President Antonio Tajani (ITALY), in charge of Transport said, "Applying full price transparency is an obligation under the air services regulation. It is a duty for airlines to impose high standards across the industry; it is our responsibility to ensure that all players respect the same rules. This is of first and foremost importance for the consumer who wants to compare prices across airlines and make a real choice."

Thanks to Professor Andrew in Saint Louis for this tip. Today (May 14th) the EC published is second report. There are several links to go to:


For the first round of tables go here:

So far they are not naming the bad people only the good ones or the ones "not yet in compliance".

Bottom line folks - the US could learn a thing or two about this form of consumer protection. You can be sure the Obama Administration and Jim Oberstar http://oberstar.house.gov/ are all over this one. Will we see a US bill of rights or a charter of the same sort WITH teeth? not likely at this stage.

However it is clear that if the airline play the ancillary revenue obfuscation game - it is inviting re-regulation. Be careful what you wish for!


The EC's enforcement page was down when I wrote the first version of this post. Therefore you can now find the enforcement details updated here:


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