Italian competition authority opens antitrust investigation into airline Vueling over hand baggage fees and online profiling.
Hand baggage pricing: “incomplete” and “non-transparent” information
The Spanish low-cost airline Vueling is the subject of an antitrust investigation in Italy on suspicion of providing “incomplete” and “non-transparent” information on the pricing of hand luggage. The carrier “does not provide clear information on the fact that the price of additional carry-on baggage services varies depending on the purchase channel chosen”, indicates the Italian competition authority in a press release. “The price changes depending on whether the service is purchased on the “airline” website or via the Vueling application”, she adds.
Customer profiling to differentiate the ticket purchase price
In addition, “it seems that the device used by the consumer also serves as a parameter to carry out customer profiling in order to differentiate the purchase price of the ticket”, underlines the press release from the Italian competition authority which continues : “such practices, if proven, could harm consumers by offering them “incomplete, non-transparent and omissive information” on how Vueling sets baggage prices.”
Charging for hand luggage: an authorized practice?
A resolution voted by European parliamentarians calls for consistent rules on the sizing and pricing of airline hand luggage. Current practices generate abuse in terms of tariff supplements. The end of current practices is all the more justified as the European Court of Justice has already ruled on the subject and to the detriment of the Spanish airline concerned. The Court concluded that airlines were not to charge extra for carry-on baggage “provided that such carry-on baggage meets reasonable requirements in terms of weight and dimensions and complies with applicable security requirements”.