/ Travel & Leisure

Ryanair, stop wasting time on misleading flight offers

Ryanair plane

So Ryanair has been told off by the advertising watchdogs once again. This time for an advert misleading people over an offer to fly from London to Dublin for New Year celebrations.

Ryanair suggested £7 flights were available from London to Dublin in time to catch the city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, when in fact the promotion was only available for flights starting in January.

Ryanair has said that it wasn’t its intention to publish anything misleading, but it’s not the first time the airline has been rapped by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA). Plus, given its record for excessive surcharges, you could be excused for giving out a little groan and thinking “here’s Michael O’Leary’s mob up to its usual tricks”.

Easyjet vs Ryanair – tit for tat

One of the interesting things about this ASA ruling is that the complaint was made by Ryanair’s main rival Easyjet, which obviously has nothing to lose in seeing a bit of negative publicity about its competitor.

But Easyjet hardly has a clean record in this area – earlier this year the ASA upheld a complaint against Easyjet made by Ryanair.

When these tit for tat complaints arrive at the door of the ASA, you have to wonder whether the phrase “pot calling kettle black” pops into the minds of their staff.

Now Ryanair isn’t my airline of choice, but I’m not one to condemn it absolutely. In my view it’s done a good job of extending the benefits of air travel to people who previously couldn’t afford to fly. Plus, it has brought great economic benefits to parts of eastern Europe.

O’Leary has also spoken out in the consumer interest by arguing that BAA should be broken up – a view now backed by the Competition Commission.

Clean up your advertising act

Nevertheless, the airline is in profit and has survived the recession in incomparably better shape than many other carriers. And O’Leary does well out of it – Ryanair this week published financial results for the last three months showing he had a pay package, including bonuses, of £1,035,000.

So why does his airline need to irritate its customers with misleading adverts and unwarranted surcharges? The same question can be asked of Easyjet.

Both airlines only damage their reputations by putting out misleading ads – so shouldn’t they spend their time and energy ensuring their ads are accurate, rather than sending each other to the advertising authorities?


And O’Leary does well out of it – Ryanair this week published financial results for the last three months showing he had a pay package, including bonuses, of £1,035,000.

Hmmm. Probably a salary of £50k from flight revenues and the rest courtesy of Ryanair surcharges. 🙂

John Symons says:
29 July 2011

I am not at all surprised that Ryanair has been caught deceiving again. I do not mind if another offender raises the complaint. It is important that somebody should, and complaints from Easyjet are a form of competition, aren’t they? I think I heard on BBC Radio 4 this morning that the Ryanair group might take over TAP Portugal. That would be disastrous. My employer uses them a lot for business travel to West Africa

Is there a single airline in the market place today, that doesn’t mislead customers?

On the Ryan air point, I remember a commentator on the BBC last year looking at “budget airline’s” prices and adding up all the baggage charges/booking fees, etc, finding that the total cost when all put together was often less than £10 difference than an identical flight via BA or Virgin.

A bigger problem is the rampant misleading of customers on air fares across the board, by sellers.
In January, I enquired about flights to San Francisco for August.
One well known airline, listed a price of £635 – for the last week of January, they had an “extra 10% off sale prices” – but their price had increased to £655!
Then we have the independants, who in June were still advertising San Francisco flights for £455 – a price I have never seen, not even back in January.
I asked a few why they lead with such a low price and if any San Fran flight in August 2011 could be purchased for their advertised price – not a single operator said they were available.

The common excuse was that airlines sell around 10 seats at the lead price quoted, as early as October the previous year. After that, the price escalates, but because there was seats available at the low price when they first went on sale, they are still allowed to advertise them at that price.
This must surely be wrong?

The ludicrous charges imposed on customers are a joke. One “low cost” airline, that advertised a price that was only available if I went on 3 weeks holiday without any clothes/luggage. Credit/debit card charges per seat are still being charged and are well documented all over every form of media.
What’s being done about it, by those who are supposed to be enforcing the laws of the land and protecting the public?

Another report or study into this issue won’t solve anything, the people need action and quick!