03 August 2006 | Paul Snell
Travel buyers will be able to compare prices of flights more easily if it becomes mandatory to advertise the full cost of fares.
The European Commission has proposed that airlines be prevented from advertising ticket prices without including all other charges, taxes and fees.
If the European Parliament approves the plan, airlines will have to provide clear pricing from December 2007.
Paul Tilstone, executive director of the Institute of Travel Management, which represents travel buyers and suppliers, told SM that pricing transparency was in the interest of purchasers.
He said buyers were sometimes confused by airlines leaving extra charges out of advertised prices.
"The proposal will enable buyers to make a like-for-like fare comparison. There are so many different extra charges that there is definitely a need for inclusive pricing," he said.
"It doesn't matter if the fare is £200 or £20, buyers are going to end up paying the same amount in fuel surcharges or taxes."
Jacques Barrot, the European Commissioner for transport, who proposed the plan, said: "We want to ensure fair competition between airlines. People must be able to compare fares."