Fares mis-quotedThomas Cook's misleading air fare

19 April 2006

Travel giant Thomas Cook has been carpeted for advertising flights which turned out to be over 40 per cent more expensive.

The company sent out emails advertising 'late deals from GBP 69' - but failed to mention that travellers would also have to pay a GBP 30 fuel supplement.

Thomas Cook argued that while advertising rules specifically said that VAT and other non-optional taxes must be included in the price, the rules didn't refer to other charges.

ASA says claim misled

The Advertising Standards Authority said that while the fuel supplement was neither a tax nor a duty, Thomas Cook knew the value of the fuel surcharge in advance, and the real minimum price of the deals was GBP 99.

It said the email claim was 'misleading' and told Thomas Cook to ensure that prices quoted in all future advertisements included all mandatory taxes and charges.

Spelling out the fuel surcharge is all the more important, since it's likely to rise. British Airways has already announced a GBP 10 increase for long-haul flights - from GBP 60 to GBP 70 per return journey. It blames the soaring prices of crude oil.

This means its long-haul fuel surcharge has grown by 1300 per cent since it was first introduced just under two years ago.

The short-haul fuel surcharge - GBP 16 per return trip - remains the same. The additional fuel surcharge applies to tickets issued from 21 April, and doesn't apply to tickets already paid for and issued.