Ryanair has been rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for a TV ad that promoted flights for “£0” when booked through the budget airline’s website.
The ASA says the ad broke the UK’s code on broadcast advertising because the price quoted did not include compulsory charges, including airport tax.
Ryanair ran the advertisement earlier this year, against the advice of the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre, which refused to clear the ad because it broke the code. It also warned the airline that running the execution would result in complaints to the ASA.
ITV says it thought the ad complied with the code, which says that non-optional costs do not have to be included if they are difficult to quantify. Because the advertised flights left from more than 20 locations and various levels of taxes and charges would apply, the broadcaster thought Ryanair could not be expected to cover all the different costs.
ITV further argues that the ad included text and a voiceover stating that taxes and charges applied. It adds that while it “valued the opinions of the BACC” and usually agreed with them, it was not bound to follow them.
The ASA agrees that it was unreasonable to expect Ryanair to list all the prices that applied, but says the airline should have indicated that the minimum price under the promotion was £11.70, and that leaving from some airports would be more expensive.