Occasional travellers or visitors to Australia booking domestic flights need to pay close attention when they are making their flight selections online.
Consumer advocacy group CHOICE this week warned unwary consumers looking for cheap last-minute airline fares to watch out for pre-selected extra costs that can add up to 40% to the advertised price of tickets.
A CHOICE investigation found that "sneaky pre-selected extras" including luggage ($34 for 20kg), travel insurance ($12.95), seat selection ($10) and a charity donation ($2) can bump up the cost of a $148 return flight by $58.95 – a jump of 40% on the advertised price.
“Pre-ticked extras are sneaky, costly and in most cases completely unnecessary,” said CHOICE spokesperson Tom Godfrey.
“In much the same way that a supermarket wouldn’t get away with handing you a trolley full of groceries you don’t want every time you arrived at the checkout, an airline shouldn’t be able to opt you in for products you don’t want or need.
“Signing you up for these extras is little more than marketing trickery. It’s particularly concerning that the airline tries to push its one-size-fits-all travel insurance, which is unlikely to meet to needs of all consumers."
Qantas and Virgin Australia no longer use the opt-in system but CHOICE is calling on Jetstar Australia and New Zealand’s CEO David Hall to ditch the pre-ticked optional extras.
“Jetstar is far and away the worst offender when it comes to sneaky pricing tricks and that’s why we are calling on Jetstar customers to send the airline a message. It’s time we sent pre-ticked optional extras packing,” Godfrey said.
“Ultimately, we don’t think the airlines should be pre-selecting extras for customers. Let people chose any extra costs and don’t try and trick them into paying more.”
So make sure you untick any of those pre-selected extras you don't want and you'll be fine.