An Air China online promotion offering 20% discounts in a Black Friday sale has been ruled as misleading by the advertising watchdog.
The Advertising Standards Authority stepped in after a consumer complained that fares had not dropped by 20% and others had gone up during the 24-hour sale last November.
Upholding the complaint, the ASA said: “Because Air China had not provided evidence to demonstrate that consumers would achieve genuine and meaningful savings of 20% for all flights to Asia and Oceana purchased during the Black Friday sale, and that significant conditions of the offer, such as excluded travel dates, had not been made sufficiently clear, we concluded that the ad was misleading.”
The ASA also noted that a banner for the discount promotion did not indicate that terms and conditions were applicable.
“It was therefore unclear that clicking on the banner would direct users to the landing page for the promotion which set out the terms, including travel dates that were excluded from the offer and departure dates,” the ASA said.
“We considered that those were significant conditions to the offer that were likely to influence a consumer’s decision or understanding about the discount promotion, which should be made clear before consumers input details of flights into the search facilities on the home page, but that had not been the case.”
Air China stated that there were some ‘blackout’ periods during which the 20% discount deal was not applicable.
The airline revealed that there were 12 sub-classes available in economy class, which had different fare levels.
That meant fares could be varied even if passengers purchased tickets on the same day.
The carrier said the economy class fare range on the London to Guangzhou route was between £10 and £2,185, plus taxes and the discount level was always subject to seat availability.