Eithad Airways has been ordered by the adverting watchdog not to exaggerate its product offering.
A complaint against the UAE carrier was upheld after it offered an upgraded seat after a flight was purchased – but the offering did not match what was being claimed.
The email promotion in January included text which stated “Upgrade to experience our business studio”.
An image included in the ad showed a cabin that featured a horizontal and dressed bed with a bedside table and other storage space.
The person who complained, who had purchased an upgrade on the understanding they would receive a seat which resembled the one represented in the ad, believed they had received an inferior seat.
They went to the Advertising Standards Authority, challenging whether the advert was misleading and exaggerated the performance of the product.
Etihad Airways argued that passengers in long-haul business class had many identical features to the Business Studio and provided examples.
The airline said it did not think the images of business class misrepresented or exaggerated the product.
But ruling that the avert should not appear again in the same form, the ASA said: “We told Etihad Airways to ensure their ads clearly presented material information and to ensure the images they used in their advertising did not exaggerate the benefit of the product.”
The ASA said: “We noted the complainant maintained that they had purchased the upgrade on the understanding they would receive the Business Studio product as was represented to them in the email they received and that they believed the image had been enhanced to make the product appear more spacious.
“We further considered that, while consumers would be aware that older aircraft did not carry some of the modern features of newer aircraft, they should still be able to achieve a broadly similar experience as represented to them in the airline’s advertising.
“We considered that the further images supplied to us by the advertiser showed that the business class cabin was not as spacious and private as was implied by the image on the landing page.
“Therefore we considered the ad exaggerated the benefit of purchasing a business class cabin product.”
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