Legal: Posted air tickets need to reflect the “final price” and “optional supplements” such as cancellation insurance must be sold on an opt-in--not an opt-out--basis, the EU’s highest court has ruled.
The decision stems from a case brought in Köln Higher Regional Court by the German consumer protection association BVV against online travel portal ebookers.com Deutschland. BVV complained that the website was automatically adding flight cancellation insurance into the price of its airfares. Customers had to click through several steps to reject the insurance and recalculate the cost of just the airline ticket.
The German court asked the European Court of Justice in Kirchberg if such practices went against the EU consumer protection law that “seeks to ensure that there is information and transparency with regard to the prices for air services.”
On Thursday the ECJ said that it did.
It found “that ‘optional price supplements’ relate to services which supplement the air service itself. Those services are neither compulsory nor necessary for the purposes of the flight and the customer may choose either to accept or refuse them. It is precisely because a customer is in a position to make that choice that EU law requires such price supplements to be communicated in a clear, transparent and unambiguous way at the start of each booking process, and that their acceptance must be on an opt-in basis.”
The case is number C-112/11 and now goes back to the court in Köln for adjudication.