EU warns airlines about their websites

The EU is warning airlines to get their websites in order within the next year or face punishment. Around 700 million passengers book their airline tickets online each year.

The EU Consumer Commission carried out a study of airline websites in November 2007 and found many to be wanting. The study showed that as many as one-third of passengers were being misled or cheated when purchasing flights online.

People were forced to wade through masses of confusing and unfair pricing information and, in may cases, there were ‘hidden’ charges, such as various taxes and surcharges. Also, airlines were refusing to advertise their lowest fare prominently on their websites.

Following the initial investigation, in which 226 websites were found to have breached EU consumer rules, just over 50% have subsequently cleaned up their acts. The rest now have until May 1st 2009 to conform or risk intervention by the EU Commission.

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