The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled this Thursday against the low-cost airline Ryanair in a case that confronts it with the Italian authorities for hiding in the starting price offered in online sales part of the cost considered «inevitable» or «foreseeable» of a ticket, such as VAT on domestic flights or the charge for paying by card.
The European Court of Justice thus recalls that the EU rules oblige transport companies to include in the initial price that they publish in their offers on the Internet charges such as the VAT that is applied to domestic flights, the supplement for payment by credit card or the charge for online billing when there is no free alternative to make such billing.
The case on which the Luxembourg-based court has ruled dates back to 2011, when the Italian competition authority (AGCM) acted against the Irish company for not publishing in the prices of its website elements such as VAT on flights national or the supplement payable with a different card than Ryanair.
The AGCM sanctioned Ryanair for unfair competition and the airline decided to appeal the punishment to the Council of State, the last instance for the administrative route, which has now directed a preliminary question to the European Justice to clarify the Community rules on this matter before passing judgment .
The TUE clarifies that it is not necessary for airlines to communicate clearly until the purchase begins, supplements that are considered «optional», such as online check-in whenever there are free alternatives, such as carrying out this procedure at the airport.
However, those «unavoidable» and «foreseeable» charges such as passenger fares or taxes must appear in detail «from the first price indication», that is, from the initial offer.