Ryanair has been criticised by the advertising watchdog for trying to encourage consumers into buying flights with a “misleading” advertisement
A complaint was upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority which banned an advert promoting £19.99 fares.
A Ryanair television advert seen in October last year was found to be in breach of three broadcast advertising rules after on-screen text saying “Fly from £19.99” was followed by larger text, which read “Summer 2017 on sale now”, despite the offer not applying to summer flights.
The airline argued that the “Summer 2017” text was a subsidiary message that appeared separately at the end of the advert, adding that there was a small on-screen disclaimer throughout the commercial that the offer only applied to travel before the end of March.
But the ASA said that the wording was “ambiguous” and could also be interpreted as meaning that summer flights were “on sale” as part of the sales promotion.
The ASA ruling said: “We told Ryanair to ensure that their advertising made clear which claims the qualifications applied to in order to avoid giving a misleading impression to consumers.”
The watchdog also upheld a compliant against lastminute.com over an advert last September offering £569 holidays to New York when a consumer found they had to pay an additional £70.77.
Lastminute.com was ordered to ensure that it “could demonstrate that holiday packages were available at the prices for which they were advertised at the time they were seen by consumers”.
Meanwhile, a complaint against Expedia adverts in September and October promoting discounted hotels and holidays deals with special prices for members was rejected.
The ASA also threw out a compliant against radio advertising by London City airport last June which suggested the airport was in the “city of London”.
The ASA said: “We noted that it was the most central airport servicing London, and the only one that might reasonably be described as being within ’inner’ London. For that reason, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to mislead.”