European Union: a new framework for air services

A new Regulation, which was adopted by co-decision procedure, lays down common rules for the operation of air transport services in the Community (recast) (Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council No 1008/08 of 24 September 2008, OJ L 239, 31 October 2008) and is a substantial improvement on the present legislation.The new regulation provides for non-discriminatory and transparent pricing of air services. It bans price discrimination on the basis of the place of residence or the nationality of the customer or the place of establishment of the travel agent. In practical terms, this means that for the same product – i.e. the same seat on the same flight booked at the same moment – there should be no price differences based on the place of residence or the nationality of the passenger. In the past, such differences have often been observed on airlines’ websites where residents of one Member State had to book on the country-specific website of the airline and where prices could be different (the place of residence of the passenger was established via the consumer’s credit card number).Price transparency is improved by clarifying that the final price to be understood all applicable fares, charges, taxes and fees included. It avoids that airlines mislead consumers by advertising prices exclusive of taxes, charges and fees that are only added at the moment of booking. The breakdown between air fare or rate, the taxes, the airport charges and the other charges, surcharges or fees shall also be specified. Optional price supplements shall be communicated in a clear, transparent and unambiguous way at the start of any booking process and their acceptance by the customer shall be on an “opt-in” basis.The new regulation came into force Nov. 1, 2008.Source: EU rapid press release; find more information here>>.

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