The full cost of air fares - taxes, charges and fees - will have to be published by airlines in future under plans proposed by the European Commission yesterday.
If approved by Europe's transport ministers, the move would end "hidden" charges behind bargain-basement ticket prices, eliminating misleading advertising and making it easier for customers to compare prices of different aiirlines effectively, said Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot.
"The liberalisation of air transport is a European success story. Citizens enjoy more travel opportunities and lower fares than ever before" he said.
"We want to consolidate this success by removing all restrictions to the free provision of air services and ensuring fair competition between airlines.
"Citizens must enjoy the benefits of the single market and have the possibility of more choice and quality. They must be able to easily compare fares between airlines."
Since the EU airline market was fully opened up in 1997, the number of routes has risen by 60 per cent across the member states, triggering what the Commission called a "dramatic" drop in prices.
More and more people can afford air travel, and the wider economy has benefited, said the Commissioner.
But travellers cannot always get the full benefits because of unclear information on fares, and pricing discrimination based on residence.
In future airlines would have to charge the same for a ticket regardless of which EU country it was booked in.
Under yesterday's proposals, advertised air fares would have to include "all applicable taxes, charges and fees".
A Commission statement said: "The aim is to give passengers precise information on the actual prices, and to combat practices whereby fares are published that exclude charges, taxes, and fuel surcharges.
"This will allow customers to compares fares effectively and avoid misleading advertising."
The air fare rules are seen especially aimed at low-cost carriers whose low advertised fares often turn out much higher once taxes and other charges are included.