Online booking agents are the travel industry’s glue. Without them, it’d be a lot harder to score the discounted airfare that seems to be in abundance right now. But it just might be that some of these travel websites are ripping you off, or at least, lacking in transparency when it comes to price listings.
According to a study conducted by the European Commission, a lot of travel websites are party to a pretty big grifting enterprise. Of the 352 websites surveyed, two-thirds were guilty of tacking on extra price elements in the later stages of booking without informing the customer. But perhaps most jarring of all, the final price of most fares was not the same as the original listed price in one-third of the websites examined. These extra fees often weren’t clearly disclosed, which is why the European Union (EU) is flagging 235 websites for further investigation.
Although largely a problem in the EU, travel website chicanery affects customers around the world. After all, your favorite booking agents -- Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak, etc. -- can help you travel around Europe, and you probably aren’t any more privy to cryptic, borderline scams than the next person. An EU spokesperson tells Thrillist that none of the websites embroiled in the controversy have been named at this point.