The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has scolded two of Europe’s leading low cost carriers for publishing “misleading” advertisements.
The advertising watchdog has upheld complaints about advertising the airlines had placed in the British national press.
Ryanair complained to the ASA about an Easyjet ad headlined “the new shape of business travel”, which stated “we charge you less”.
The no-frills Irish airline objected to the claim, as its fares were cheaper than Easyjet’s on a number of routes.
Easyjet, however, said the advert was aimed at the business traveller, and that on business travel routes it is cheaper than other carriers.
The premise of Easyjet’s advertising was based on a report that found 75% of business flights from the UK, Germany and other European markets were cheaper through Easyjet than other airlines that offered a business travel economy class itinerary.
As Ryanair does not fly to the main city airports favoured by business travellers, Easyjet argued it didn’t need to be included in the comparison.
Ryanair’s complaint was upheld by the ASA, however, who said Easyjet had breached four of its codes of conduct and warned the airline that the ad must not appear again.
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.”
An Easyjet spokeswoman said the airline was “happy to comply with the ASA’s ruling on this technical point”.
She added: “We were surprised to hear that Ryanair had concerns over this advertisement as it is the first time that they have ever expressed any interest in the business traveller.”
Ryanair, meanwhile, has had its own knuckles rapped for an ad featuring a woman sunbathing on a beach. The ad was for promotional fares of £8 one-way to a number of destinations.
The ASA upheld a complaint that the destinations included in the promotion were not warm enough for sunbathing – the maximum temperature for the warmest destination was 14⁰c.