ASA probes airlines over ’hidden extras’

The Advertising Standards Authority is investigating complaints that the airline industry is misleading customers by promoting fares which exclude the cost of airport tax and duty, which can increase the price by up to 25%.

The Advertising Standards Authority is investigating complaints

that the airline industry is misleading customers by promoting fares

which exclude the cost of airport tax and duty, which can increase the

price by up to 25%.



The ASA has received two complaints from the Air Transport Users Council

about fares advertised by BA and British Midland which do not include

such extras. However, the complaint could apply to all those UK airlines

which follow a similar policy toward advertising fares, and any ruling

against the two airlines will affect the entire industry.



For example, in the UK, passengers are required to pay air passenger

duty of pounds 5 on domestic or European flights and pounds 10 on

international flights.



Outside the UK, airport duty varies.



The case will go before the ASA council in a few weeks and an

adjudication is expected soon.



Consumer affairs minister Nigel Griffiths has announced his support for

the ASA investigation.



In addition, airline pricing is the subject of a review by the Local

Authority Trading Body on Food and Trading Standards (Lacots), the

representative body of local authority trading standard departments.

Pricing transparency in the industry will be the subject of a meeting

called by Lacots on August 19.