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Medium: Digital Media – Purchasing App
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 4.22, 4.27, 4.28(a), 4.28(b)
The advertisement appeared as a pop-up at the booking stage within the Ryanair App and stated: “Good news! Free reserved seats for children under 12. At least one adult on this booking must buy a reserved seat and 4 children under 12 will get free reserved seats.”
The complainant considered the advertising misleading as they were unable to avail of the free child space advertised to them. They stated that upon investigation, they found that less than half of the seats on the flight were available free of charge to children under 12 years old and if those seats were already occupied, a free seat would not be available to customers and an additional charge would incur to book one beside your child.
The complainant also believed the advertising to be misleading due to the absence of readily available or linked small print and exclusions.
The advertisers stated that they did not consider the material provided by the complainant to be sufficient evidence to support their claim.
The advertisers explained that Ryanair’s general terms and conditions of carriage and FAQ’s outlined that for safety and operational reasons, only some seats were available for free reservation for children under 12. If none of these seats were available, they stated that customers had the option to purchase a seat for their child in a different row, or travel on a different flight. They also stated that the booking process indicated that seating selection was subject to availability.
In relation to incurring additional costs, the advertisers stated that pricing was clear throughout the purchasing process and customers were well informed of any additional costs that occurred with no possibility for being confused or mislead. They advised that if customers did not agree with the final pricing, they could select to travel on a flight which had available seats remaining for the free reservation of children under 12.
The advertisers stated that no number of seats were indicated in the advertisement and that most, at least 120 seats per flight or 63% across their aircrafts, were available to be assigned free of charge to children under 12. They said that, as per their terms and conditions, if none of those seats were available, other rows would become available.
In addition to the above statements, the advertisers also said that to ensure greater transparency for their customers they would take action regarding the messaging surrounding this offer to avoid the potential of future customers feeling misled.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
The Complaints Committee considered that while it is a given that seats are subject to availability, the lack of conditionality on the offer, “Will get free reserved seats”, regarding free seat reservations for children under 12 was likely to mislead. In addition to this, the absence of any readily accessible link to the offers terms and conditions was deemed likely to mislead.
In the circumstances, the Committee considered the advertisement was in breach of Code sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 4.22, 4.27 and 4.28 (a) (b).
Action Required: The advertisement should not reappear in its current form.