New guidelines recently launched by the Office of Fair Trading and Civil Aviation Authority require travel companies to provide consumers with clear, transparent and timely information when advertising and selling flights and holidays.
The guidance is aimed at airlines, price comparison websites, travel agents and tour operators and is designed to ensure the travel industry is fully aware of its responsibilities under existing consumer legislation.
Key points of the guidance are:
- All unavoidable and foreseeable charges for flights must be included in the headline price, this should include taxes, fees and other mandatory charges
- Information on optional extra charges such as baggage and seat selection charges must be clearly available from the start of the booking process
- Customers must be free to choose these optional extras and they should not be pre-selected
- The airline to be used must be clearly shown from the start of the booking process
- Information on financial protection arrangements for the booking and other key information must be made clear
- Terms and conditions in relation to any booking must be readily available and easy to understand
OFT and CAA will monitor the travel industry to ensure that the guidelines are being adhered to by all companies. Publication of the guidelines follows a 10 week consultation process involving input from the travel industry.
Any business found not complying with the guidelines will be encouraged to do so through consultation but continued non-compliance could result in legal action.