ASA Adjudication on Travel Up Ltd
Travel Up Ltd t/a
Bargain Flight Desk
511 Oxford Road
27 June 2012
Internet (on own site)
Holidays and travel
Number of complaints:
Claims on two websites, both operated by Travel Up, viewed on 21 February 2012:
a. Search results on www.bargainflightdesk.co.uk, listed return flights from London Heathrow to Port Elizabeth, South Africa for three adults and one child for £2641.35.
b. Search results on www.travelup.co.uk, listed return flights from London Heathrow to Port Elizabeth, South Africa for three adults and one child for £2727.44.
The complainant challenged the availability of the flights at the advertised prices.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Bargain Flight Desk said they were provided with fares from over 50 airlines via a data feed. They said the prices shown in the ad were intended to represent the price given by the airline. They provided three invoices for flights to Port Elizabeth and also provided a fare sheet of flights to Port Elizabeth. They also explained that when a consumer selected a specific flight they were navigated to a page which made clear their position on the availability of flights. Text stated "Please contact us to check the availability and book the seat for the selected flight and fare. The data displayed is NOT a display of AVAILABLE flights but is a database of prices and should be used as a means of researching the best fares for a given journey on a date or range of dates".
The ASA considered that, in the context of a flight search tool that returned fares which were not identified as "from" prices, consumers would expect all of the advertised flights to be available at the advertised prices.
However, we understood that availability fluctuated and that there would therefore be times when customers were not able to take up the advertised offer. We were concerned that the ad continued to appear in those circumstances. We therefore considered that the ad should have stated that the advertised fare was extremely limited or could be withdrawn at any time, in order to make clear to consumers their prospects of being able to take up the offer.
Whilst we noted that the invoices and air fare sheet demonstrated consumers had purchased flights to Port Elizabeth for a lower price than those shown in the ads, we were concerned that we had not seen sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the specific flights, referred to in the ads, were available to consumers at the advertised prices. We were also concerned that the dates of travel within the invoices differed from the dates of travel requested by the complainant.
Because the ad did not make clear that the advertised fare was extremely limited or could be withdrawn at any time and, because we had not seen sufficient evidence to demonstrate the availability of the advertised prices, we concluded that the ads were misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.17 (Prices).
The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Bargain Flight Desk to ensure they made clear that offers were extremely limited or could be withdrawn at any time in future. We also told them to ensure they held sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the specific flights referred to in the ads were available to consumers at the prices quoted.