Consumer group CHOICE has welcomed Virgin Australia’s decision to stop forcing consumers to opt out of pricey pre-ticked travel insurance when they’re purchasing a flight online and is calling on Jetstar and Tiger to also ditch the ticks.
“Pre-ticked optional extras can see travellers paying up to 40 per cent more for things they don’t want, when all they’re trying to do is book a flight,” says CHOICE Head of Media Tom Godfrey.
“It’s great news that Virgin has decided to let its customers actively opt-in to these online add-ons but it’s time for Jetstar and Tiger to stop tricking people into buying extras they may not need.”
CHOICE has been campaigning for an end to pre-ticked optional extras on the online booking pages of Australia’s four major domestic airlines.
A CHOICE investigation found preselected extras increased the price of a flight by up to 40%, with Jetstar the worst offender as three of Australia’s four major domestic airlines added in extras such as standard seating, travel insurance and even charity donations.
“In much the same way that a supermarket wouldn’t get away with handing you a trolley full of groceries you don’t want, every time you arrived at the checkout, an airline shouldn’t be able to opt you in for products you don’t want or need,” Mr Godfrey says.
“Signing you up for these extras is little more than marketing trickery. It’s particularly concerning that airlines try to push one-size-fits-all travel insurance, which is unlikely to meet the needs of all consumers.”
Virgin Australia decided to end the practice of preselecting travel insurance during the online booking process following discussions with the ACCC.