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25 January 2017
In recent years the Competition Authority has fined several airlines for imposing limits on round-trip tickets which force passengers to take flights in the order listed on the original ticket subject to loss, fare increases or denial of boarding on the next flight depending on the type of fare originally purchased (ie, the so-called 'no-show rule').
According to the Competition Authority, the no-show rule is an unfair commercial practice as passengers are:
The main issues that the Competition Authority has raised are:
The issues above were examined by the Council of State in its September 30 2016 ruling (4048), which confirmed the Competition Authority's decision.
According to the Council of State, the no-show rule is lawful. However, to protect consumer rights, the rule must resolve said issues to strike a balance between the commercial needs of airlines and consumer rights.
Airlines have implemented remedies to address the no-show rule and any relevant issues considered to be in breach of the Consumer Code, as envisaged by the Competition Authority.
Remedies include creating a system that allows passengers who have missed or were unable to take their first flight for any reason, but who would like to take their return flight or additional flights as originally booked, to contact the relevant airline within a fixed timeframe (usually 24 hours) from the scheduled departure time of the first flight via a dedicated free hotline or email address.
The Council of State decision confirms the increased focus on consumer rights without neglecting the commercial needs of airlines and the European principle of tariff freedom in the aviation sector.
For further information on this topic please contact Laura Pierallini at Studio Legale Pierallini e Associati by telephone (+39 06 88 41 713) or email (email@example.com). The Studio Legale Pierallini e Associati website can be accessed at www.studiopierallini.it.
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