16sep airline warned for pricing practices hero default

Airline warned for pricing practices

Air Asia is the latest airline told to stop pre-ticking optional services that bump-up the price of a flight.

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The Malaysian airline, which began flights from Auckland to the Gold Coast in March, has been warned by the Commerce Commission its practice of pre-selecting checked luggage risked misleading consumers and breaching the Fair Trading Act. The company has also been warned for failing to disclose upfront a mandatory payment processing fee.

Earlier this year, budget airline Jetstar finally agreed to stop its practice of pre-selecting travel insurance, seats and luggage. The airline was the target of our “Ditch the Ticks” campaign.

The commission says Air Asia changed its booking process in July to make checked baggage “opt in” rather than “opt out”. It says the processing fee is now displayed early in the booking process and an alternative payment method has been introduced so customers can avoid the fee.

Commission chair Dr Mark Berry says since it began investigating opt out pricing last year, seven companies have ended the practice. “We have made our position very clear on this issue and expect businesses to stick to an ‘opt in’ sales approach to avoid any possibility of breaching the Fair Trading Act.”

Air New Zealand, House of Travel, Dash Tickets, Ticket Direct and Naked Bus have previously agreed to stop the practice.