ASA orders Flybe to drop “misleading” ad

The Advertising Standards Agency has ordered Exeter-based budget airline, Flybe to drop an advert because it was “misleading”.

The airline, which invested £3 million in marketing a new, creative look last summer had failed to make clear which routes were included in its '10 million-seat' January sale promotion.

The advert featured 70 destinations included in the deal along with their corresponding prices, but did not state whether the airports were listed departure or destination airports and subsequently failed to make clear whether the prices applied to all, or just some, of the seats on those routes.

Flybe withdrew the advert once a complaint had been made to the ASA and it was redesigned to avoid any potential confusion.

The ASA has told Flybe to ensure that their ads made clear which airports flights departed from and went to and to, which seats fares applied.

"Flybe is always compliant with advertising regulations and as a result we have fine-tuned the detail of the advert under scrutiny, said Simon Lilley, Flybe's director of marketing.

"It should be noted that it has been accepted industry practice for many years for airlines and other transport providers to indicate in their advertising a city/location and the price of a ticket to get there. Tens of millions of travellers each year understand this straightforward concept. However, based solely on the feedback from one consumer who complained it was not clear as to whether or not the price applied to flights to, or from, the airport in question, the ASA disagreed. However, flying in the face of such ‘logic’, the ASA does not have an issue with advertising a generic promotional price or discount that does not give consumers any idea whatsoever as to where they can fly.

"Whilst at the same time agreeing to fine-tune what is a very small change, we are also seeking assurances that the ASA applies this rule equally to all other transport operators’ advertising."

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