Budget-carrier Jetstar has agreed to remove pre-selection of ‘opt out’ services for airfares sold online in New Zealand.
Authorities are now hoping that its low-cost competitor, Air Asia X, will follow the Jetstar example.
Stuff.co.nz reports that last year the Commerce Commision called for an end to this practice. A number of related businesses including Air New Zealand, Ticket Direct and House of Travel acquiesced with their request.
Jetstar however was one of the companies which refused to change, claiming its items were easy to deselect and clearly displayed.
Checked baggage, seat selection and travel insurance for customers has been part of Jetstar pre-selects booking process, something that added costs to airfares.
Now the carrier is removing pre-selection for fares bought in New Zealand.
Catriona Larritt, Jetstar Group chief commercial officer said changes would be implemented from the end of next month.
The Commision fought for change on the grounds that optional extras services could mislead buyers over the prices and products they were purchasing. That could see them buying something they didn’t want, it believed.
Consumer NZ – an advocate group for consumers – ran a ‘ditch the ticks’ as part of its campaign urging Jetstar to end pre-ticked boxes.
For instance, it was claimed that for a return flight from Auckland to Wellington, the service charges would add over $40 to the fare.
Ms Larritt said it would now be expected that other low cost carriers flying like AirAsia X would agree to remove pre-selection as well.
Mark Berry, the Commerce Commission chairman said he was please that Jetstar had changed its stance because it avoided the need for litigation.
It was confirmed by a spokesperson that the Commission had already contacted AirAsia X and was now waiting to hear what the airline’s stance was on the issue.
Spokesman Christian Bonnevie said that the discussions “have been positive to date.”.