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August 07, 2007

RyanAir Ticket Prices

This is pretty foul:

The European Commission has been investigating budget airline pricing policies amid concern that passengers are being deceived. It is expected to table legislation requiring all taxes and charges to be quoted throughout the booking process.

So everyone now has to quote prices inclusive of taxation. The reason being, of course, that our Lords and Masters don't want you to see how much you're having to hand over to them. Bugger all to do with consumer protection: it's leech protection.

August 7, 2007 in Taxes | Permalink


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Depends really. If it is allowed to say flight - 1p, taxes = 20 pounds, total = 20.01 then that's not the case. If it can only say total = 20.01 I agree.

Posted by: Matthe | Aug 7, 2007 9:57:45 AM

I'm with Matthe, I've run aground on those RyanAir price advertisements a few times, where you click one page further in your booking and the price just leaps. It never ceases to annoy me (though it's better than the BA site that estimates the taxes, etc and then when you get a finalised quote invariably shows that it underestimated them). It isn't something I'd ask for regulation on though, but I do regard it as tilting towards the deceptive, if not the downright dishonest. In that sense, airlines lose the little love I had for them and my business is there for whichever one decides to present prices more reasonably, i.e. where the cost of the ticket and the cost of the tax are both presented clearly.

Posted by: Philip Thomas | Aug 7, 2007 12:52:11 PM

It'll be the same as all other advertised prices, where the seller can break down his costs however he likes in adverts, but the most prominent number has to be the one the customer *actually pays*.

I have some intellectual curiousity about how the costs of my air ticket break down, but what matters *in terms of my purchasing decision* is how it compares to train or car for the same journey. So it's obviously sensible to insist that the comparable figures are quoted...

Posted by: john b | Aug 7, 2007 1:13:31 PM

" So it's obviously sensible to insist that the comparable figures are quoted..."

Well yes and no...

This doesn't apply to RyanAir so much as to operators like EasyJet, especially if you are choosing which of the 3 of the 4 main London airports to which it flies you wish to end up at.

The price differential - if you are booking well in advance - is usually not due to easyjet but to the airport. Easyjet is right to distance itself from that part of your purchasing decision.

Posted by: Cleanthes | Aug 7, 2007 2:45:40 PM

I'd like to open a petrol station and advertise the price pre-tax.

Posted by: AntiCitizenOne | Aug 7, 2007 3:34:11 PM

Um, isn't missing out the tax the same as a normal retailer omitting VAT from its ads?

Posted by: Gary Marshall | Aug 7, 2007 3:35:25 PM

Cleanthes: but I still don't give a toss about EasyJet's cost structure - I care about how much it costs me to fly to Malaga. While I may value different airports differently (actually I don't, except London City, but that reflects the fact I live in central London), the headline fare is still the only data I need in determining which airline to fly with from where.

AC1: and you're allowed to, as long as you advertise the post-tax price more prominently. You could even train your cashiers to say "did you know that £35 of the £50 you just paid to fill up was tax?".

GM: yes, absolutely the right comparison. It's why I hate shopping in the States...

Posted by: john b | Aug 7, 2007 4:48:20 PM

"GM: yes, absolutely the right comparison. It's why I hate shopping in the States..."

Particularly enjoyable (not) is the "dollar store" where everything costs a dollar. You queue with your 7 items, and your 7 dollars in your hand, only to be asked for $7.63. Much rummaging for change, give up, hand over $10, handful of shrapnel returned..

Posted by: Kay Tie | Aug 7, 2007 6:13:11 PM

Sorry to disagree, Tim, but I'm quite happy with this.

It's not stopping the airlines saying how much the government is screwing us - quite the opposite, in fact, by forcing them to show the full prices the airlines will itemize it for sure, thus making ti even clearer than before, and certainly a lot clearer than VAT-inclusive prices.

Posted by: Alan | Aug 7, 2007 6:55:47 PM

Yeah, US sales tax is a pain in the arse, but at least there's a reason for it - it varies from state to state.

I agree with Alan, Ryanair will do its best to embarrass the government over this but won't be able to mislead punters (as much) any more.

Posted by: Gary Marshall | Aug 7, 2007 8:11:21 PM