Air-fare advertising to show added tax rates, the ASA rules

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.

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

misleading.



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

other advertisers.



ASA executives carried out an investigation of flight price advertising

after complaints by the Air Transport Users Council, part of the Civil

Aviation Authority.



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.’



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