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Norwegian promises flight under £30 – but advertising watchdog ‘hasn’t seen evidence’ it exists

The UK advertising watchdog ASA has slapped budget airline Norwegian on the wrist for failing to provide evidence that advertised £29.90 flights from London to Helsinki were available when advertised

The advertising watchdog has taken on a budget airline for promoting cheap prices after saying it “had not seen any evidence” Norwegian had flights under £30 it promised for a particular journey.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) today (12 September) ruled the company had to make clear when its “from” prices were accurate and whether they were subject to change or limited availability.

Its ruling came in response to a complainant who was unable to find a one way, direct flight from London to Helsinki at an advertised “from £29.90” fare.

The advertising watchdog ruling

The ASA said: “The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told [Norwegian’s parent company] Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA to ensure that it held adequate evidence to demonstrate that ‘from’ prices were available to consumers in reasonable quantities.

“We also told it to make clear the date on which ‘from’ prices were accurate and, where relevant, that they were subject to change and that there was limited availability.”

The Norwegian banner ad was spotted on a flight comparison website on 31 May 2018 by the complainant – who claimed the mentioned price was “misleading”.

The advert read: “Fly for less. Stay for longer…Helsinki Direct from London from/one way incl. taxes £29.90*.”

The asterix stated that terms and conditions applied.

Norwegian: ‘Flights were available at the advertised price’ 

Airline, Advertising watchdog
Norwegian has claimed that flights were available at the advertised price on the date contested.

Norwegian Air responded to the complaint by explaining that the advert was a “dynamic feed” from its website showing the lowest fare available over the next nine months.

The airline said that flights were available at the advertised price and that the company was not hit by any IT troubles on the day.

In its assessment, ASA said that readers of the advert would assume that a reasonable quantity of flights would be available at the “from” price given on the ad’s publication.

The advertising watchdog added it had not seen evidence that flights were available at the advertised price on the day the advert was spotted.

Compelo has contacted Norwegian for a comment on the ASA ruling, but has not yet received a response.