Flight cancellation insurance must be sold as 'opt-in': EU

July 19, 2012

Sellers of online air tickets must indicate the final price as well as surcharges and fees but cannot include flight cancellation insurance by default, the European Court of Justice ruled Thursday.

The ruling followed a complaint by a German consumer-protection group against ebookers.com Deutschland, which sells on the Internet.

When its clients made a booking, the costs listed in addition to the price of the flight contained taxes and fees as well as cancellation , calculated automatically.

A notice at the bottom of the page indicated how to proceed should a customer wish to reject the cancellation insurance, included as a default setting.

The court said that customers must be allowed to choose such optional price that "are neither compulsory nor necessary for the purposes of the flight."

"EU law requires such price supplements to be communicated in a clear, transparent and unambiguous way at the start of each booking process, and that their acceptance must be on an opt-in basis," it said.

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