A dozen airlines have been forced to change their pricing policy by the Office of Fair Trading.
Ryanair, Thomas Cook, Thomson, Aer Lingus, Eastern Airways, easyJet, Flybe, German Wings, Jet2, Lufthansa, BMI Baby, and Wizz Air have agreed to include debit card surcharges in the headline price.
They agreed to the change after an OFT investigation into airlines which sprung charges on customers towards the end of the booking process.
The investigation was launched following a 'super-complaint' from consumer rights magazine Which?.
Most of the airlines, including Eastern Airways, easyJet, Flybe, German Wings, Lufthansa, Thomas Cook, Thomson (TUI) and Wizz Air, have already made changes to their pricing.
The rest have got until August 1 to comply with regards to advertising and fully complete further changes over the coming months.
OFT chief executive Clive Maxwell said:
"This is a great outcome for the millions of people who buy flights online.
"It is important that the cost presented when they search for a flight is realistic and that they are not surprised by extra charges. Otherwise it is harder for them to shop around for the best deal.
"We made it clear from the start that we would use all of our enforcement powers, including court action if necessary, but are pleased to have reached agreement with the airlines before court proceedings were required."
Gareth Williams, Skyscanner co-founder and CEO, welcomed the move.
"Skyscanner has included card charges in the airline prices we show for some time, allowing our users to compare fares more easily," he said.
"We believe it"s important that pricing is as transparent as possible so that consumers are aware of the true cost of their flight. It is great that these 12 airlines will now be incorporating card charges into their pricing and we hope other airlines will follow suit."
Following OFT recommendations last year, the Government has announced plans to bring forward legislation to ban excessive debit and credit card surcharges across the economy.
The OFT estimates that debit and credit card surcharging in the airlines sector cost consumers £300 million a year.
by Bev Fearis
Thursday, July 5, 2012
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