Abta concern at CAA/OFT pricing guidance

Abta concern at CAA/OFT pricing guidance

The CAA and Office of Fair Trading (OFT) issued updated guidance on information airlines, agents, tour operators and price-comparison sites must give to consumers yesterday.

However, Abta expressed concern that it “appears to suggest Atol holders who also sell non-Atol product should not use the Atol logo”.

The association said it suspects “the majority” of Atol-holders sell non-Atol product.

The CAA/OFT guidance confirms “all unavoidable and foreseeable charges for flights must be in the headline price”. This includes taxes, fees and charges such as booking fees.

It also confirms “information on optional extras” such as baggage and seat-selection charges “must be clearly available from the first stage of the booking process”. Consumers must be free to choose these extras: “They cannot be pre-selected.”

The name of the airline travellers fly with “must be displayed from the start of the booking process”.

“Information on financial protection arrangements . . . must be clear”, and terms and conditions must also be available and easy to understand.”

Abta head of legal and member services Simon Bunce (pictured) said: “We are pleased that many of our recommendations made during consultation have been included.”

However, Bunce said: “We are concerned the guidance appears to suggest that Atol holders who also sell non-Atol product, which we suspect is the majority, should not use the Atol Protected logo.”

He said: “This contradiction needs clarification.” Abta pledged to take the matter up with the OFT and CAA.

In addition, Bunce pointed out: “Some of the guidelines around information provision may prove technically difficult for companies with smart phone and iPad apps, due to screen size limitations.

“We are sure the OFT and CAA will take a sensible approach reflecting the actual impact on consumers.”

A CAA spokesman confirmed: “This is not a change in the regulations. The [existing] regulations underpin the guidance.”

He added: “The guidance does not just apply to the major airlines operating in the UK. There are thousands of travel agents out there. The guidance is to make sure they are aware of the regulations.”


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