TRAVEL CLINIC

Your questions answered by our panel of travel experts, including a doctor and a lawyer

WHY DON'T FLIGHTS HAVE A PRICE TAG?

There always seems to be a discrepancy between the advertised price of plane tickets and the price you end up paying. I was under the impression that the Consumer Protection Act was there to avoid this sort of thing. Also, why isn't tax included in the price?

Gee Harrison

Connah's Quay, Flintshire

The Travel Editor replies: The Consumer Protection Act 1987 sets out the legal restrictions in broad terms - it is an offence to give consumers a misleading price indication about goods or services. At present there is no specific law which states that prices have to include compulsory costs such as airport tax, or that dates should be published to indicate the availability of the price advertised.

Lack of availability and hidden costs are the two most common reasons for customers to feel aggrieved about airfare advertising.

Under the Consumer Protection Act, a flight price is misleading if it conveys that it is less than it actually is, that it does not depend on circumstances on which it does in fact depend, or if the price covers matters in respect of which an additional charge is made.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which regulates advertisements through the Code of Advertising Practice, has received a steady flow of complaints over the last few years concerning the indication of flight prices in advertisements. The majority of these have concerned the non- availability of seats at the advertised prices.

Under an agreement between the ASA and the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), if prices exclude any compulsory incidental taxes, the advertisement should contain a clear indication to this effect. Also, all fares quoted should apply to departures on a date between one and six weeks after the advertisement appears.

However, at the end of June the Air Transport Users' Council lodged a formal complaint to the ASA because of refusal on the part of particular airlines to include airport tax and other extras in advertised fares. The council says these charges can add up to 25 per cent to the cost of the air ticket. The ASA is now sending a paper to its council on this point and the decision reached, along with any new guidelines, will be published in the autumn.

The travel industry is keen to decide whether airport tax should be included in flight prices by the autumn in any case because a new level of tax - it was doubled in the last Conservative budget - comes into effect this November. As a result travellers will pay an additional pounds 20 on top of the cost of a ticket to fly out of Europe.

The Department of Trade and Industry has voiced particular concern that airport tax should be included in prices advertised (already package holiday adverts have to include all non-optional taxes).

Consumers who feel they have been misled by an advert can contact the ASA Public inquiry Service (0171 580 5555), or the Air Transport Users' Council (0171 242 3882).

Research by Carlina Macdonald.

WHAT'S THE BEST REMEDY FOR TRAVEL SICKNESS?

I love travelling but I am very prone to motion sickness. This especially affects me in buses or coaches but it can even be a nuisance when I am flying. I have heard various suggestions about how to minimise the symptoms but they all sound like old wives' tales. Do you have any suggestions?

Robert Taylor

Northampton

Dr Richard Dawood replies: Nobody should be deterred from flying these days by the fear of air sickness. There is a vast armoury of medicines and other remedies for inveterate sufferers. Most do not require a prescription and through a simple process of trial and error, most sufferers are able to find a remedy that suits them. (Many of these medicines have side-effects such as headache, a dry mouth, and drowsiness; it is important to avoid driving while taking these medicines.)

Other remedies include ginger, and acupressure on acupunture points at the wrists. A convenient way of applying acupressure is to use special wrist bands, that are widely available. Research suggests that all of these methods are equally effective - it really is a matter of finding a remedy or combination of remedies that works for you.

You can also lessen your risk of air sickness by choosing larger, more stable jet aircraft, and by requesting a seat close to the wings where the least aircraft motion is felt.

If my own observations are anything to go by, availability of sickness bags on board aircraft seems to be decreasing. This is presumably a reflection of the fact that more stable aircraft, more experienced travellers, and better medicines for sufferers, mean that the frequency of the problem is declining.

Dr Richard Dawood is Medical Director of the Fleet Street Travel Clinic, London, which provides immunisation and pre-travel health advice by appointment (tel: 0171 353 5678).

CAN I TAKE MY VAN ON A LONG JAUNT?

We will be buying a van and hope to be touring around Europe for at least one or two years. What is your best advice as regards MOT test and road tax renewal?

F Buck

Edinburgh

The Travel Editor replies: The answer depends on where exactly you are planning to travel, and in what type of van. There would be specific documentary requirements for a minibus or anything larger, and each country has its own stipulations as to how long you can stay under "temporary importation". Most EU countries allow 6-12 months. You should contact the overseas service branch of a motoring organisation with your specific details and itinerary.

The AA advises that MOT and tax are domestic requirements, and are therefore irrelevant outside the UK. There are no pan-European standards, so as long as you are travelling in and out of each country in accordance with temporary importation rules, you are in what the spokesman defined as, "a sort of loop-hole" regarding tax and MOT. So, if you are travelling in something like a camper van, within central Europe, then vehicle insurance is seemingly the only compulsory documentation required. This situation may change if you are staying in any one country for a significant length of time, seeking employment, or undertaking studies there. A useful information leaflet, V100, on this subject is published by the DVLC, and can be obtained from Post Offices, or telephone 01792 782341.

The RAC points out that an MOT is a guarantee that your vehicle is roadworthy, and without this you alone are responsible for its safe state of repair. An unsafe vehicle could result in a local fine, and insurance policies may depend on a valid MOT. Your vehicle should have MOT and tax cover for a year when it is bought and registered in the UK. To renew the MOT, you must return to the UK, and renewal of tax by post relies on sending valid insurance, and MOT documentation.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
people
Sport
SPORT
News
people
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Biggins as Mrs Smee in Peter Pan
theatreHow do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
News
i100
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
    Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

    Marian Keyes

    The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

    Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

    Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
    Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

    Rodgers fights for his reputation

    Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick