EU panel backs plans against hidden charges in air fares

BRUSSELS, June 25, 2008 (AFP) – A panel of EU lawmakers approved European plans requiring that air fares clearly include all extra charges so passengers know exactly what they are paying. In the crackdown on hidden expenses, all air fares would have to include all taxes, fees and charges on top of the basic ticket price known at the time of publishing.

The approval of the European Parliament’s transport committee opens the way for the measures to be adopted by the full assembly in July in a second reading.

The new rules are due to take effect in 2009 or 2010 depending on how fast EU governments rubberstamp them.

Currently, additional charges added on to air fares often include fuel surcharges, insurance and various taxes that can sometimes double the advertised price.

EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva warned last month that consumers are getting ripped off by misleading information for airline tickets sold online, promising a crackdown if the industry failed to clean up its act.