UK aviation authority to investigate airlines’ hidden fees

20 Jun 2016 by Clement Huang
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is attempting to clamp down on hidden fees charged by airlines. An investigation has been launched to determine whether additional costs are presented to customers in an “open and clear” way. A CAA spokesperson has stated that this action is to help “people understand what they are actually paying for”. The review will not be limited to UK carriers but encompass every airline selling tickets in the country. “The government and the CAA continue to emphasise to the airlines the importance of compliance with ticket transparency obligations,” said the UK transport minister Robert Goodwill. “To enhance consumer protection in this area, the CAA will start work on unfair contract terms with the airlines this summer.” Transparency around additional fees is a common complaint by passengers as well as a big cash cow for many airlines. According to The Daily Telegraph, European airlines made almost £13 billion (US$18.9 billion) in 2015 by levying such charges and the sale of extras including food and insurance. Low-cost carriers will come under particular scrutiny due to their penchant for charging customers for services such as changing the name on a flight ticket or choosing where to check in. Ryanair for example charges an additional £45 (US$65) to most passengers that choose to check in at the airport, as opposed to doing so online – alienating those that are not tech savvy or have limited connection. Many have expressed dissatisfaction at this, with more than 5,000 disgruntled Ryanair passengers launching a £400 million (US$583 million) class action suit against the low-cost carrier over alleged hidden fees. The airline has since announced that it would reduce the baggage fees for the majority of its customers. For more information, visit Clement Huang
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