Flight prices and bookings
What should be included in the price of a flight, how should the price be stated, and may the price change when you are in the middle of making a booking? What if you press the wrong key when you are booking a flight? Read about what you should know before booking a flight.
Prices during the booking process of flights
The final price of the flight must be indicated right at the beginning of the booking process. In addition to the price of the flight, it must include the unavoidable taxes and charges all passengers have to pay.
When the price is stated, the share of unavoidable payments in the total price must also be given and itemised. Any separate payments that really are optional, including those related to luggage, insurance, selected additional services, etc., must be indicated clearly in connection with the final price and be easy to see.
Additional payments may not be ticked as default selections, and charges that you have not yourself actively selected may not be gradually added to the price, but their acceptance must be on an opt-in basis.
Watch out when making a booking
When you are booking a flight, pay attention to what the price consists of, which ticket type you are booking and what the ticket conditions are. The ticket type usually determines the services that are included in your flight and your possibility of cancelling the flight or changing the date of your flight if you wish.
Check how much you have to pay for such services as selecting your seat or luggage. The difference between the final price and the cheap starting price may be great if, for example, you bring a lot of luggage or you would like to make sure that your group is sitting together.
The conditions of carriage or the ticket conditions may state that you must use the flights in a specific order: for example, if your trip consists of several connecting flights, you may not use only one of them, or there are restrictions on using the return ticket if you have not used your outbound ticket first.
The price may change during the booking process
Airlines typically have prices that may vary rapidly based on such factors as demand, dates, available seats and seat types. This is why it is even possible that the price of the flight may change in the middle of the booking process before your booking has been made and confirmed, and the flight is no longer available at the original price.
If the airline offers cheap seats to attract passengers, a sufficient number of these seats considering the scale of the campaign must be available, however.
Booking errors and charges for changes
You can only make changes to your booking later if this is allowed by the conditions of the ticket you purchased. In this case, too, you will usually be charged for making changes, and these costs may be considerably high compared to the ticket price. If you book a package tour, making changes is much easier than if you only book a flight. You can usually transfer a package tour to another person if you wish, which is not possible when you only book flights.
Be careful and check that the names, dates and other information are correct when booking your flight and when you receive a booking confirmation. If you notice any errors in your booking, contact the airline or the booking agent at once. Many airlines allow you to correct obvious mistakes, including spelling mistakes in a name, free of charge within the first 24 or 48 hours after you have made the booking. Travel agencies usually charge a fee for making such changes.
Error messages during the booking process
If you get an error message in the middle of the booking process, get a screenshot of it, or use your phone camera to take a picture. Check if the payment went out of your account and if you received a booking confirmation. If you have any doubts, contact the airline or the booking agent before booking new flights. It is possible that your booking went through despite the error message.
The administrator of the booking system is responsible for the operation of the system and any errors. A travel agency that books flights for you is not responsible for the flights themselves, but they do have a duty to be careful when making bookings, check that the customer’s information is entered correctly, and follow the customer’s instructions.
It is worth paying with a credit card
If an airline goes bankrupt, package tours have protection, but not flights you booked separately. However, paying with a credit card provides additional security.
If you have the right to get your money back from a vendor or service provider, you can ask for a refund directly from the bank that issued the credit card. This rule applies under the Finnish law, so if your credit card was issued in another country, check the laws and conditions that may apply.
When you cancel the flight yourself
The right to cancel purchases made through distance sales does not apply to flights. The right to cancel is determined by the airline’s conditions of carriage. You should note that cancellation practices vary by airline and ticket type. Depending on your ticket type, you may have the right to a refund. The more expensive the ticket, the more favourable the terms and conditions for cancellations usually are.
Your right to a refund depends on the airline’s conditions of carriage, even if you cannot make the flight because you are ill or for some other unavoidable reason. You can prepare for unexpected situations by taking out travel insurance with comprehensive cancellation cover.
The airline may have a duty to refund the taxes, airport fees and similar charges included in the price of an unused air ticket that it collects from passengers and remits to a third party. However, the airline may charge a reasonable handling fee stated in the conditions of carriage for refunding these fees.
If you purchased other travel services in addition to flights
Did you buy not only flights but also other travel services included in the total price, such as hotel rooms, car hire or other services that make up a large share of the trip’s total value? In this case, you have the right to additional protection under the package tour legislation.