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Consumer groups take up fight against unfair 'no-show' clause in airline tickets

10 December 2018
by BEUC -- last modified 10 December 2018

Today several consumer groups are taking action against the use of 'no-show' clauses in airline tickets. This clause prevents passengers from using the return leg of an airline ticket, or the remainder of an itinerary, if they didn’t use the first leg, for whatever reason.


In those cases, airlines which use the clause refuse boarding to the passenger and either require the passenger buys a new ticket, or pays a fine to be able to use his original ticket. The clause is used in different versions by a multitude of airlines in the EU.

Monique Goyens, Director General of The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), said: "The 'no-show' clause is downright unfair. The passenger has paid for the tickets and expects to be able to use them. You might have missed your outbound flight, or found a more convenient way to get to point B, there is no excuse for airlines to cancel the remainder of your ticket.

"What makes this particularly unfair is that this obscure clause is stuffed into the terms and conditions. When passengers get to the airport to use the remainder of their journey, they are usually shocked to find out they can't and have to fork out hundreds of euros for a new ticket or pay a hefty fee. This unfair practice must be stopped and that is why consumer groups are taking action today."

Given this situation, national consumer associations, members of the BEUC network, are taking action to force the airlines to stop using the clause. BEUC is also sending a letter to the public authorities responsible for consumer protection at national level (CPC network) to urge them to open an investigation into the no-show clause.

This practice should be banned at EU level. An EU reform of air passenger rights has been blocked for five years now and the gridlock is unlikely to end soon. BEUC today is also writing to the European Commission to ask it to take initiative to ban the clause.

BEUC acts as the umbrella group in Brussels for its members and its main task is to represent them at European level and defend the interests of all Europe's consumers. BEUC investigates EU decisions and developments likely to affect consumers, with a special focus on five areas identified as priorities by its members: Financial Services, Food, Digital Rights, Consumer Rights & Enforcement and Sustainability.

European Consumer Organisation (BEUC)