The Advertising Standards Authority is clamping down on airlines
and travel agents promoting air fares which fail to include taxes that
can add up to 50 per cent to the cost of a flight.
From January, no advertiser will be allowed to hide extra duties and
charges in an ad’s small print, a practice the ASA condemns as
The ASA’s action brings such ads in line with those for package
holidays, which must be advertised at an all-inclusive price, and no
longer allows airlines to make the kind of price claims not permitted to
ASA executives carried out an investigation of flight price advertising
after complaints by the Air Transport Users Council, part of the Civil
As a result, flight prices in ads will have to cover all duties and
charges to be paid by customers. This includes Air Passenger Duty, which
doubled on 1 November, and foreign-levied taxes collected by airlines in
the UK and added to the basic cost of fares.
Airlines had been resisting pressure to advertise all-inclusive prices,
claiming it is difficult to advertise fares that included variable
foreign duty charges.
But Matti Alderson, the ASA’s director-general, said: ’It cannot be
right that flights are advertised at such incredibly low prices when, in
fact, consumers in some cases have to pay up to a half or a third more
than the headline price because of compulsory tax.’