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Passengers urged to read Terms and Conditions when booking flights

Date posted: 24.06.2019

New report assesses the transparency and prominence of a number of key airline contract terms.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has undertaken a review of airlines’ Terms and Conditions, considering rules and fees that consumers may not be aware of, such as potential check-in charges, fees to print boarding passes at the airport, and rules that can cause return tickets to be cancelled if a passenger does not take their outbound flight.

The Civil Aviation Authority’s report also summarises the progress and work already undertaken by the sector on these issues. In many cases, airlines have worked alongside the Civil Aviation Authority to make their rules more proportionate and fairer for passengers.

For example, over the course of the review, a number of airlines have removed the fee that they charged previously for processing refunds of Air Passenger Duty in situations where the passenger does not travel. Several airlines have also implemented ‘key terms’ summary documents to give greater prominence to the most relevant contract terms.

Some airlines also undertook reviews of their contract terms to make them simpler and easier to understand for passengers.

The Civil Aviation Authority has today launched a new awareness campaign to help improve consumer understanding of airlines’ terms and conditions and the sorts of issues that can catch passengers out.

As UK holidaymakers get ready to fly over the summer holidays, the Civil Aviation Authority is reminding passengers to be aware of airlines’ terms and conditions and to consider the potential impact they may have on their travel plans.

Paul Smith, Consumer Director at the UK Civil Aviation Authority said:

“Consumers often do not read their airlines’ terms and conditions. It has therefore been important for us to review this area and work with the industry to seek positive changes.

“A number of airlines have already made improvements, however, if airlines want consumers to comply with their terms and conditions, it is important for them to write their contracts in plain and transparent language and to make key terms prominent to consumers.

“We are also calling on customers to do their research and be aware of potential fees that they may be inadvertently agreeing to.”

Notes to editors:


The UK Civil Aviation Authority’s review follows the Competition and Markets Authority’s ‘Small Print, Big Difference’ campaign from earlier this year, calling for the holiday industry to give customers clearer Terms and Conditions. More info on this campaign is available on the website:





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