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Published on Wednesday, April 27, 2011

EasyJet and Ryanair misled customers

EasyJet has been forced to remove an advert claiming to offer business travellers the best deal after rival Ryanair proved its flights were cheaper.


Ryanair told advertising watchdogs that easyJet's claim "We charge you less" was misleading because it offered lower fares than easyJet on a number of routes.


The Advertising Standards Authority dismissed easyJet's argument that because Ryanair did not fly from the same main airports or offer business travellers an equivalent product its fares should not be compared to easyJet's.


The ASA said: "We considered that the ad did not make clear the nature of the comparison being made in the claim "We charge you less" and that, without further information, consumers would be unable to establish the circumstances in which easyJet was claiming to be cheaper than other flights for business travel.


"We considered that, because of this, consumers would not know which airlines had been included in the comparison, or whether it was a comparison with business class travel only or with economy class travel, and in the absence of further explanatory information, there was a likelihood that consumers would believe travel on all other airlines had been included in the price comparison."


However, the ASA also partially upheld a separate complaint against a Ryanair's ad which claimed to offer cheap winter sun flights after discovering that the destinations included in the promotion were at best luke warm in February and March.

"We noted the average daily sunshine hours of the destinations quoted ranged from three to six hours," said the ASA. "We noted the maximum temperatures of the destinations, were between 11°C and 14°C for the warmest three destinations; between 6 °C and 9 °C for most of the destinations and between 0 °C and 4 °C for the coldest destination.

"We considered that the average consumer would infer from the claim "Book to the sun now" and the image of the woman sunbathing, in a bikini, with a cocktail, that the promotion included fares to destinations warm enough to sunbathe in swimwear during the promotional period. Because we understood this was not the case, we concluded that the ad was misleading."

A second complaint over the airline's pricing was also upheld and Ryanair has been told not to repeat the claims.


By Linsey McNeill

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