BA Christmas fare promotion censured by ad watchdog BA Christmas fare promotion censured by ad watchdog

A consumer challenge that the return flight deal was not available upheld

A website advert for an online travel agency was banned for making a misleading price claim for a flight from London to Orlando.

A return flight with British Airways over Christmas was advertised by in July for £464.

But a consumer challenged whether the ad was misleading after finding that the flight was not available at the advertised price.

The advertising watchdog agreed that the price was misleading and ordered click2book owner Flights & Holidays UK not to run the advert in the same way.

“The price was not presented as a ‘from’ price, and there was no indication within the ad that the price was subject to change,” the Advertising Standards Authority ruled.

“We understood that flight prices available through third parties were liable to fluctuate and advertisers were unlikely to be able to monitor real-time availability, meaning that flights might not be available at the advertised price by the time consumers attempted to make a purchase.

“However, we considered that the ad was presented in a way which suggested Flights & Holidays UK would be able to supply the flight at the advertised price.

“Because we had not seen evidence that the flight was available at the advertised price at the time the complainant viewed the ad, we concluded that the ad was misleading.”

Upholding the compliant, the ASA said: “We told Flights & Holidays UK to ensure they held adequate substantiation to show that their quoted prices were based on genuine prices available to consumers.

“We also told them to: describe prices that were subject to change as ‘from’; clearly state that these had limited availability if that was the case; state when prices were last updated; and ensure they had processes in place to update prices frequently.”

Flights & Holidays UK said flights on the website were bookable at the prices shown.

In this case, the firm maintained that the payment had not been completed and that had the payment been made, it would have honoured the advertised price.

The company said there were certain special prices that were only bookable online.

Flights & Holidays UK had a advert banned by the ASA in a ruling in September when its Dail4Travel business was found to be promoting a misleading £512 Singapore Airlines flight from London to Perth.