An email promotion from Bristol Airport advertising flights to North America for just £227 did not breach advertising standards rules, the watchdog has ruled.
The promotion offered flights with Aer Lingus to a range of American destinations, including New York, as part of a special offer between April and June this year.
But one recipient of the email complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, stating that whenever they looked online to find tickets at that price, they couldn’t find them.
They complained to the ASA, which regulates ads online, on TV and radio, in the media and in the street, and claimed the advert was misleading.
The advert said the ‘lead prices’ were correct as of April 5, the date the promotion began, and the prices were based on each way tickets, as part of a return trip in which a Saturday night stay was required.
Bristol Airport and Stobart Air, the firm which runs Aer Lingus, both provided figures which showed the ASA exactly how many tickets were available at that ‘from price’ on April 6, for each of the destinations listed in the ad – and showed a percentage of flights were available each day at that price.
“They believed the information demonstrated there was a significant proportion of seats at the ‘from’ price for each of the destinations listed in the ad when the email was sent out on April 6,” the ASA said.
The ASA did not reveal the percentage of tickets available at that price to Bristol Live, and said this information was commercially sensitive.
But the ASA said the figures did show there had been availability of seats at the advertised price to all the destinations listed in the ad for each month.
“The ASA considered recipients of the email would expect to have a reasonable chance of obtaining seats on both outward and return flights at the advertised price for each of the destinations listed for the travel period stated, as long as they included a Saturday night stay,” a spokesperson for the ASA said.
“For New York, the destination the complainant wanted to travel to and from and for which Bristol Airport and Stobart Air had supplied availability figures for each day throughout the offer period, there had been availability to and from one or both of the New York airports every day apart from one, which we noted was the Saturday of a bank holiday weekend and the beginning of the half-term holidays for many schools.
(Image: Steve Roberts)
“On the other days, availability varied depending on the date of travel and the airport, JFK or Newark, but there was always some availability. We considered consumers were likely to expect availability to be more limited for particularly popular days and flight times,” he added.
“We considered however that Bristol Airport and Stobart Air had supplied evidence that showed reasonable quantities of fares at the advertised price, fairly evenly distributed over the offer period, meaning consumers had a reasonable chance of obtaining seats at the advertised price. We concluded that the ad was therefore unlikely to mislead,” he added.
A spokesperson for Bristol Airport said: “We are pleased with the ASA’s conclusion that our email promoting Aer Lingus flights did not breach its rules.”
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