Air passengers to get fairer deal on ticket pricesCheaper flights thanks to new EU rules

04 September 2008

Airline passengers could soon be paying less for flights thanks to new EU rules approved by MEPs yesterday.

The proposed regulation – due to come into effect next summer – will create a code of conduct for the computer computerised reservation systems used by high-street and online travel agents to book tickets.

Greater choice and cheaper flights for passengers

Airlines which own shares in reservation systems will be prevented from skewing search results in favour of their own fares, which might not be the best value on offer.

The code will mean consumers get greater choice and clearer information when booking their flights. The European Commission believes this will create stronger competition and could reduce ticket prices by as much as 10 per cent.

Planes vs trains

Consumers booking flights of up to 90 minutes will also be given details of alternative train services serving the same route.

Timothy Kirkhope MEP, who worked on the proposals, said: ‘The current system allows the airlines that have shares in reservation systems to favour their own companies, which distorts competition and drives up prices.

Environmentally-friendly alternatives to flying

‘Consumers will be able to make far better informed decisions when they book their tickets. This system gives consumers more options – over the carrier they wish to use, and whether they wish to opt for a more environmentally-friendly alternative to flying.’

Lorna Cowan, editor of Which? Holiday, said: ‘This ruling is good news for consumers, who should now feel confident they will get the same choice of fares whichever travel agent they use.’