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Sat 16 May 2009 11:40 AM

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Emirates denies charge of misleading website prices

Airline one of nine accused by EU of poor website pricing practice. 

Dubai’s Emirates Airlines has denied a European Commission charge that it has mislead customers over website ticket prices.

The airline was one of nine named and shamed by the European Commission on Thursday for failing to act on concerns that they were misleading customers on their website.  

It comes just days after Emirates launched a new "best price" promotion via its website guaranteeing that no better fares for the same Emirates flights would be found anywhere else on the internet.

“We are surprised at the revelations of the EU report on airline websites. Our commercial operations are guided by fair business practices and transparency for our customers,” said Richard Vaughan, divisional senior vice president, commercial operations worldwide, in a statement.

“There has been no communication from the EU investigators warning us of any compliance issues. If such issues exist, we would be very keen to engage in dialogue to understand these issues,” he added, in the statement that was reported on WAM news agency.

Joining Emirates on the EU list was Northwest and Aeroflot, while Air France-KLM and British Airways narrowly avoided inclusion by contacting the authorities in Brussels before the announcement was made.

“This is not just a signal that they have some problems, it is a signal that these companies do not care too much to reply to the consumers’ concerns,” EU Consumer Protection Commissioner Meglena Juneva told a press conference in Brussels.

However, Emirates’ Vaughan said the airline had contacted the EU to obtain its website checklist, which it had used, in combination with legal advice, to ensure its website was up to scratch. 

“We were satisfied that our websites and fare advertising had complied with all the listed requirements,” he added.

The European Commission wants all the airlines involved to commit to putting their websites straight by the end of June, after which remedial measures could be taken.

Consumers needed to look out for unclear price information, such as extra non-optional charges being added through the booking process, or at the end, the EU said.

There could also be problems with availability of an eye-catching offer, it warned. (Agencies)

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hamdan mohamed( 10 years ago

i was reading a review by one of emirates airline business class traveler ( ). for me i have stopped flying them long time ago due to their poor customer service. wining awards of new planes and technologies does not mean you neglect to look at your poor service to your customers.

Salam 10 years ago

Also, make sure that the currency conversion rate is updated. Once I bought an online ticket from Emirates to find later I had to pay much extra because the conversion rate on Emirates website was outdated.

Amitabh Khanna 10 years ago

As consumer we are often isled by low proces which upon enquiry and booking become pretty close to te prices quoted by travel agents. Almost all carriers are NOT clear in that communication what the amount of "TAXES AND SURCHANGES" apply to these fares. moreover these extras are different for each airline. Why cant consumer standards bodies take the lead in ensuring that this practice stops.

Jeremy Plumley 10 years ago

I have no problems with the way Emirates advertise their prices. You get an all in price unlike many other airlines (KLM being one of the worst) that offer AED 700 to London and then you find you have to pay another AED 1400 - 1500 in "taxes." Emirates offer the best flexibility with regards to timing and destinations (at least those that I regularly use).

Sayed Mohammed 10 years ago

The good thing about Europe in general is that when it comes to fair play, they will drag even the most prestigious company down as they've done with Microsoft and the richest man in the world! The problem in the Emirates may be that, there is no oversight commitees or perhaps not enough or even worse, no impartial oversight committee. In Europe you have oversight monitoring the oversight, which is good for the customer but arguably too much red tape, but a better system. Problem in the Emirates, is organisations maybe too afraid to publically scrutinise in a negative way, a government run company. But people are used the way things are here, so I shouldn't think the EU report will shock too many people.

ekene chiedozie 10 years ago

i have been booking online emirate for the past 4 years and i think they are the best flexible.their online booking and fares are clear enough.for a lay man who does not understand the different taxes,the fares at the end of booking may be unclear.but i believe they are fair enough than others.though they need to always update the coversion rate sees to have disappeared entirely from the website.