Thursday, January 19, 2012

AirAsia in trouble in Australia ...

... over hidden fees

(FILES) This file photo dated 14 April, 2006 shows an AirAsia Airbus A320 (foreground) sitting on the tarmac while another AirAsia aircraft taxis at the low-cost air carrier terminal of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang. British billionaire Richard Branson of Virgin Group is to take a 20 percent stake in Malaysia's AirAsia long-haul budget carrier to help get it off the ground, a report said 07 August 2007.    AFP PHOTO / FILES / TENGKU BAHAR
AirAsia has been taken to the Federal Court by the ACCC. Photo: AFP
THE consumer watchdog has taken legal action against budget airline AirAsia for allegedly failing to disclose the full price of fares for flights from Australia to destinations overseas.

The same day AirAsia executives were spruiking launch fares as low as $99 for one-way flights on its new route from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur, it has emerged that the regulator began legal proceedings in Melbourne seeking both penalties and orders for the Malaysian airline to issue corrective notices on its website.

In documents filed in the Federal Court on Tuesday, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission claims that fares sold on the airline's website disclosed only part of the total price for flights from Melbourne, the Gold Coast and Perth to destinations in Asia, Europe and India because they excluded taxes, fees and other charges.

The regulator wants the court to order the airline to publish on its website a notice stating that it failed to ''specify, in a prominent way, the single price for air travel on its website … since at least September''.

The ACCC has shown a growing willingness to take action against airlines for running foul of consumer laws.

Last year it pursued budget airline Tiger Airways for selling tickets after the air-safety regulator had grounded its fleet of aircraft in July due to safety concerns.

The regulator also took Qantas to task for the amount of compensation it offered passengers disrupted by its decision to ground its entire fleet on October 29.

Read more: The Edge