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New Airline Pricing Rules Mean Carriers Must Display All-In Ticket Price

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NEW AIRLINE PRICING RULES
WestJet Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Calgary Airport on Feb. 16, 2010. The federal government says advertised airfares for flights originating in Canada must include all relevant fees so the travelling public can easily understand the total cost. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal) | CP

TORONTO - The federal government says advertised airfares for flights originating in Canada must include all relevant fees so the travelling public can easily understand the total cost.

Transport Minister Denis Lebel said Tuesday that advertised prices for the public must include all taxes, fees and other charges so that consumers can clearly see the total cost of an airline ticket, with no hidden fees.

The amendments apply to ads in any media for travel services within or originating in Canada.

Repeat offenders can be fined up to $25,000.

The "all-in" ticket price doesn't need to include fees for optional services or amenities such as in-flight entertainment, meals, beverages and baggage— but the price of the options must be displayed with taxes included.

Excluded from the new regulations are flights originating outside Canada, package travel services, loyalty rewards programs and charter services booked through corporate travel offices.

"We are protecting Canadian air travellers by helping them see, clearly and up front, the full cost of air tickets, so they can make informed travel choices," Lebel said.

"In addition to benefiting consumers by ensuring transparent advertising, these regulations will promote fair competition between all advertisers."

He said offenders can be fined up to $25,000.

The Canadian Transportation Agency developed the new rules after consulting industry and consumer interest groups and also meeting with provincial and foreign government officials.

Some airlines announced earlier this year that they would move to an all-in approach in advance of the changes. The organization representing Canada's major airlines issued a statement Tuesday welcoming Lebel's announcement.

"We genuinely appreciated the open and meaningful consultative process undertaken by the Canadian Transportation Agency," the National Airlines Council of Canada said.

"The new framework is a good example of industry and government working together. We are pleased that the new rules provide clarity, maximize transparency and ultimately help the consumer make informed decisions", said NACC president George Petsikas.

The National Airlines Council of Canada is a trade association founded by Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat and Jazz Aviation LP.

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