Airlines vaguely improve rubbish websites

You know what really annoys me? I mean even more than MPs using our money to dredge their moats or Pee Wee Herman – what really annoys me are long, tedious jokes; jokes that surely have a hilarious punch-line to make up for the build-up, but in fact end up utterly shit.

The same joke has been used on us by airlines like Wizz Air, EasyJet and Flybe for far too long: Go to website, see cheap deal, trudge through interminably long purchase process, suddenly find random costs and charges added. Repeat process on different budget airline, same conclusion. Truly a productive use of precious time.

Ryanair – another culprit – has already been given a thorough drubbing by our esteemed Andy Dawson for making us pay a £5 charge to use their website to purchase tickets, even though their website is the only way to purchase tickets. But at least that charge is stated up-front, in a sort of “welcome to Ryanair” way; the charges I point out above are not up-front and non-avoidable.

As some astute comments on Andy’s post point out, the European Parliament specifically prohibited this practice back in 2008. A further investigation by the European Commission revealed that a staggering 115 out of 137 sites needed to switch out their workflow for something more legal. This was circa 2007.

But even that hasn't been enough to stop airlines from staring blankly and ignoring the order to improve their websites as though it was an order to stare blankly and ignore. A “health-check” study conducted in March found that out of 67 airlines only 16 had “[met] all the standards”, 36 had issues that “will be addressed shortly” and the rest are still outstanding.

It remains to be seen whether the sheer immovable incompentence exhibited by these airlines will ever go away, but Meglena Kuneva (EU Consumer Commissioner) holds out hope: "There is no room for complacency - there is more work to be done. But this first pan European enforcement investigation has shown it has real 'teeth' and can deliver. The next step is an industry-wide agreement."

Good stuff Meglena. But I get the feeling this is going be an even longer-running joke than it has been already. And the punch-line, I'm sure, will be utter shit.

The Register

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