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Why flying just got cheaper for Australians

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Aussies are less likely to pay for unwanted travel insurance or checked baggage after three airlines announced an end to the practice of pre-selecting extras on their websites.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had been concerned that the "opt out" model has seen a number of consumers unintentionally pay for unwanted pre-ticked extras, says chairman Rod Sims.

Following discussions with the ACCC, Virgin Australia announced it would cease the practice of pre-selecting travel insurance.

Jetstar then confirmed that, from July 1, 2017, it would no longer pre-select checked baggage, seat allocation, travel insurance and charity donations on its online booking platforms.

tiger air airline preselection

Tigerair also announced it would stop using pre-selected travel insurance and baggage.

"The ACCC is pleased that it has been able to achieve this positive change for Australian consumers without having to pursue other options," says Sims.

"Once Virgin had agreed to make the first move, the others have been quick to follow suit."

The practice of pre-selecting extras "is fast becoming a thing of the past", he says.

The ACCC would continue discussions with domestic airlines that continued to engage in pre-selection.

"The ACCC will also turn its attention to international airlines operating within Australia which continue to pre-select extras."

Sims says there are better ways for airlines to highlight the availability of these extras to consumers.

Qantas does not pre-select optional extras on its online booking platforms, while Air New Zealand agreed to end the use of opt-out pricing in 2015.

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Sharyn McCowen is Money's online producer. She has a degree in journalism from Charles Sturt University, and was a newspaper reporter before moving to magazines and finance.
Comments
Shaun Campbell
December 7, 2016 8.46pm

Now we just have to wait for airlines to promise to depart when they say will.

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