Ad description

A national press ad, for discounted flights, appeared on 2 February 2011. It was headlined “FLY RYANAIR one way from £12”. Text below stated “DON’T DELAY: BOOK YOUR SKI HOLIDAYS IN CUNEO ... ”. Small print stated “Book until midnight 03.02.11. Travel Feb - 26th Mar, Saturday only. Subject to availability ... Fares exclude optional fees/charges. Flights from London (Stansted)”.


The complainant objected that the ad was misleading, because he found the advertised flight price was not available.


Ryanair said the advertised flight price was available. They provided sample bookings related to flights booked at the advertised fare on the day the ad appeared. They also provided a system report related to the availability of the advertised flights; they said there was one flight per day on Saturdays during the advertised travel period. They said the ad was not misleading, because 22% of flights from Stansted to Cuneo were available for £12 during the advertised travel period.


Not upheld

The ASA noted the sample bookings submitted by Ryanair, which related to three bookings for flights from Stansted to Cuneo. The bookings were made on the day the ad appeared and related to flights on two different dates in February and March 2011, which showed that flights had been booked at the advertised price.

We also noted the system report, which related to flights from Stansted to Cuneo for every Saturday in the advertised travel period, showed that each of the flights had at least 15%, and up to 28%, of seats available at the advertised price of £12. We noted the proportion of seats available at £12 was spread reasonably evenly across the travel period and that overall the availability of such seats was around 22%. We noted the ad made clear travel was from Stansted on Saturdays until 26 March and included the text “DON’T DELAY: BOOK YOUR SKI HOLIDAYS IN CUNEO ... ” and the small print “Subject to availability ... ”. In the context of more than 10% of seats being available at the advertised price in a reasonable spread across the travel period, we considered that text was sufficient to make clear any limitation there might be on the availability of the flight price. Because we had seen evidence to demonstrate adequate availability of flights at the advertised price, we concluded that the ad was not misleading.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code rules  3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.  (Misleading advertising),  3.7 3.7 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation.  (Substantiation),  3.17 3.17 Price statements must not mislead by omission, undue emphasis or distortion. They must relate to the product featured in the marketing communication.  and  3.22 3.22 Price claims such as "up to" and "from" must not exaggerate the availability or amount of benefits likely to be obtained by the consumer.  (Prices) and  8.10 8.10 Promoters must be able to demonstrate that they have made a reasonable estimate of the likely response and either that they were capable of meeting that response or that consumers had sufficient information, presented clearly and in a timely fashion, to make an informed decision on whether or not to participate - for example regarding any limitation on availability and the likely demand.  (Sales promotions - availability) but did not find it in breach.


No further action necessary.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

3.1     3.17     3.22     3.7     8.10    

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