Tue, Oct 23, 2012 - Page 4 News List

Group urges care with low-cost tickets

USER-UNFRIENDLY:A consumer watchdog inspected the Web sites of airlines that offer cheap plane tickets and found the service information to be insufficiently clear

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Consumer Protection Committee yesterday urged consumers to pay more attention to service descriptions before purchasing low-priced plane tickets, as it found the information offered on most airlines’ Web sites to be incomplete or unclear.

Since last year, an increasing number of low-cost airlines have began providing cheap international flights to and from Taiwan, prompting many to purchase such tickets, the committee said.

In order to prevent possible consumer disputes caused by misinformation, the committee said it has invited eight low-cost airlines to discuss the information disclosed on their official Web sites to help ensure that understandable information is provided to consumers.

Following an inspection of the Web sites conducted on Oct. 14, the committee found that although most of the Web sites have translated some service information from English into Chinese, only three airlines have translated all their Web site content into traditional Chinese characters.

The other five airlines’ Web pages only have partial content in Chinese characters and some only have the content in simplified Chinese characters, it added.

Despite all Web sites stating regulations for free baggage allowance, additional fees for overweight baggage and prices of in-flight meals, the committee said most of the sites are still considered user-unfriendly as the information is either difficult for consumers to find or is incomplete.

In addition, it said several frequently asked questions were not stated at all or were very difficult to find, including fees charged for checking in sports equipment; the luggage quota for passengers traveling with infants; special assistance services for the disabled; ticket purchasing limits for children, infants or groups; and regulations for pregnant women or passengers traveling with pets.

The committee said that the airlines should clarify the fees charged for changing a ticket or getting a refund, check-in procedures and time needed for international departures.

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