An annoying featire of many airlines websites is the pre-selection of features that you may not want. Virgin, Jetstar and Tigerair all had booking systems that that pre-selected insurance. If you didn’t want the insurance, you needed to ensure you opted out. Depending on the airline, there may also have been luggage and seat selection pre-selected.
While you could always get the insurance refunded under cooling off provisions, it was not always the easiest process. Other fees were even more difficult, if not impossible, to get refunded if added in error.
Now, following discussions with the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), the airlines have agreed to move to an opt-in model for extras. That is, items will not be pre-selected, and you won’t have to deselect the item to opt-out. This will make people less likely to pay for things they may not want.
First announced on Thursday, Virgin Australia was first to agree to changes by removing pre-selected travel insurance.
The next day budget carrier Jetstar announced that it was going to move to opt-in models for travel insurance, seat selection and charity donations.
Tigerair then followed removing the preselection of travel insurance and checked baggage.
Of the three, Jetstar appears to have given themselves the longest timeline to effect the changes. According to Jetstar, their changes are not coming into effect until 1 July, 2017.
The ACCC says it will continue to work with other airlines to remove the pre-selection practices. “We’re certainly hopeful that they will make changes voluntarily in the short term, to the benefit of their customers, or the ACCC will explore other options,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.