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Advertiser: Aer Lingus
Medium: Internet (Company Website)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10
The advertisement stated the following:
“Aer Lingus - Travelling with pets
Your guide to flying with your beloved pet
If they’re part of the family, they can be part of the holiday!
We understand how hard it can be to leave your beloved pet behind, so why not take him with you? With a range of options available, we can carry your beloved pet safely and ensure that its handled with care.”
Information, in addition to that stated below, was given on conditions for European and Regional Flights, restrictions on breeds as well as other conditions.
For flights within Europe, the advertisement stated “Pets must be booked through a freight forwarder.”
For Aer Lingus Regional flights, the advertisement stated
At the time of booking, you must contact us if you plan to travel with a pet. A €40 fee per flight, per crate applies. At this time you will be advised of all restricted breeds for travel on an Aer Lingus Regional flight.
Note: If you didn’t book online, please contact us in order to book an animal in advance.
Information for the conditions on transatlantic flights included:
• There is a €160 per flight sector, per crate, payable at the airport on the day of departure for cats & dogs travelling as excess baggage.
The complainant said that she had booked tickets for a European flight, with the intention of bringing an animal with her. She considered that the advertising was misleading on the following grounds:
The complainant said that information on aerlingus.com outlining costs for pet travel indicated that pet travel on flights on Aer Lingus regional flights cost €40 and on transatlantic flights cost €160. She said that this created a range for the consumer that costs for pet travel within Europe would be between these two figures. However, on contacting a number of freight forwarders (a requirement for pet travel within Europe), she was quoted prices of circa €1000 per flight.
The complainant said that the advertisement linked to a named cargo company who advised the complainant that they only carried pets from London. No such information was available on the Aer Lingus website.
The complainant said the four freight forwarders she contacted advised her that
a) Aer Lingus does not carry pets on weekends
b) Aer Lingus does not fly pets to the complainant’s destination
The advertisers said that their website was clear that anyone wishing to book their pet on a flight within Europe needed to contact a freight forwarder via the online form and they would then be contacted with the process and requirements to transfer their pet to the preferred destination. They said that prices for pets travelling within Europe varied depending on the destination along with any restrictions. They said that each case was dealt with on an individual basis and that this was clearly stated on the website.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They noted the advertisers’ response that the information regarding prices for pets travelling within Europe varied depending on the destination along with any restrictions and that each case was dealt with on an individual basis. They also noted that the service for transporting pets to Europe was via third party providers and not directly arranged with the advertisers.
Issue 1: Upheld
The Committee noted that costs for transporting pets on Aer Lingus Regional flights and on transatlantic flights had been given on aerlingus.com and they considered that this could create an expectation in relation to a range of costs. They considered that consumers would not expect the cost of transporting pets to Europe to be significantly higher than the transatlantic cost.
Whilst noting that the advertisers were not directly responsible for the costs, and that those costs varied by destination, the Committee considered that the absence of information that the range of costs for Aer Lingus Regional and transatlantic flights were not indicative of likely costs within Europe was likely to mislead.
Issue 2: Upheld
The Committee noted that the advertisement invited consumers to send a travel enquiry to a specific company that provided the service from only one location on the network. The Committee considered that the advertisement should have indicated that the nominated freight forwarder only transported pets from London.
Issue 3: Upheld
The Committee noted that there was no information on the website that exclusions would apply in relation to carrying pets at weekends nor that not all destinations on the network were available for pet travel. The Committee considered that the advertising should have explained that exclusions applied.
In the circumstances, the Committee considered that the advertising was in breach of Section 4.1 of the Code.
The advertising should not reappear in the current format.