Airlines face legal action in Spain over baggage and check-in fees

The travel trade press recently reported that legal action is being considered in Spain against airlines that fly out of Malaga and charge people to check in their luggage and issue boarding passes.

According to one Spanish newspaper, the Malaga Prosecution office is compiling a list of airlines that charge such fees, numbers which are estimated to be between 15 and 20 carriers. The office will base its arguments on the Spanish navigation law of 1960 that says airlines are obliged to carry a passenger’s luggage within the price of a ticket.

The action, likely to be heard in a regional Spanish court, will be largely aimed at budget carriers, although the policy is becoming more widespread.

A 2011 review by aviation consultancy IdeaWorksCompany, showed airlines globally took more than £14 billion in ancillary revenue on credit cards last year.

In a second case the Malaga prosecution office is keen to take action against airlines that charge passengers to check in, despite the fact that it is an essential part of their journey.

The John Proctor Travel view

For some time now additional charges when booking flights, have been a source of irritation to customers and the travel industry alike.

These charges have been added in a variety of ways including taxes, baggage, credit and debit card charges, check in charges and similar.

Some of these are understandable and there is little doubt that huge costs are charged to the airlines by the banks for processing card payments.

However it is not unreasonable to expect the ‘lead in’ price on airlines web sites, to at least bear some relationship to the final price i.e. the price a customer has to pay to travel!

As in other industries transparency and simplicity has to be the way forward for the aviation industry and we await any future repercussions from any legal action with interest!

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