The low-cost airlines' adoption of Web technologies to facilitate direct sales has accelerated their market penetration. However, some low-cost carriers are increasingly using Websites to create distance between themselves and their consumers in specific areas of their operations, while simultaneously developing excellence in sales transaction completion via self-service. The 'opaque' practices many low-cost carriers employ appear to be intentional design features and are contrary to the ethos of designing a 'good system' to facilitate the full spectrum of customer service. As a result, the low-cost sector has come under increased scrutiny for engaging in unfair practices and violating consumer protection law. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.