Europe may force airlines to display 'real' ticket prices

How many times have you tried to compare airfares between different airlines on the same basic itinerary, only to find out that the "real" price was different than the advertised one?

Under current laws in the U.S. and elsewhere, airlines are not required to show you the taxes, fees, segment charges, and various other extras associated with their advertised fares. That means a "$200" round-trip between Boston and London could set you back $400 or more when you add in the other costs.

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While there's been talk here in the U.S. about allowing the airlines to further manipulate their misleading prices, the discussion seems to be heading in the other direction over in Europe. According to a story in the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper, the European Union's transport commissioner, Jacques Barrot, will propose that EU airlines actually advertise their full fares, including all taxes and fees, to allow consumers to compare apples to apples on European flights.

What a novel idea. The move faces tough competition from the airlines, but that's not unexpected. The good news here is that the dialogue is moving in the right direction, focusing on consumer protections rather than pricing deceptions.

Now, if only we could get our act together here in the U.S.

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