Malaysia bans hidden charges in airline ticketing

I've some news from Malaysia where I was this week. The aviation watchdog, MAVCOM (Malaysian Aviation Commission, equivalent of India's DGCA) has made it mandatory for airlines to disclose final pricing. The new guidelines will be effective from 1st of June and require airlines to show the final payable amount in their advertisements and website pricing upfront.

Airlines typically display a lower amount upfront- like base fare and as a passenger progresses thruogh the booking process lots of extras are added- tax, convenience fee, surcharges and so on, often making it difficult for customers to compare between two or more flights they might be considering and often triggers a false notion that flight is cheap, as final amount payable could be 2x the amount initially seen.

Airlines around the world follow these tricks, albeit with some exceptions (like Southwest). Even airlines in India do the same- flight ticket could be 899 Rs, but will then include a 500 Rs "convenience fee" and various other hidden charges, making the final transaction uneconomical.

With the MAVCOM directive, airlines selling tickets in Malaysia need to disclose final amount payable. Malindo Air, AirAsia, Malaysian are some of the Malaysia based airlines who will have major impact of this. I guess other international airlines selling tickets to Malaysian passengers will also have to comply with this. Need to see if Malaysian airlines extend same to Indian customers or will continue with existing process for India market.

Another important rule is processing fee shouldn't exceed more than 5% of ticket price in case of non-refundable tickets. (This means airlines can't announce a Rs 899 ticket and then ask for Rs 400 convenience fee on top of it)

Read it online here

We need DGCA enforce similar rule here in India.

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