Advertising standards rap for and Sunmaster has been criticised for misleading passengers into thinking that luggage allowance was included in flight prices.

The advertising watchdog upheld a complaint made over details on the airline’s website containing a number of claims, including 22kg baggage allowance.

A consumer challenged whether the advert seen in July misleadingly implied that 22kg baggage allowance was included in the price of the flight.

The airline then amended its website but the Advertising Standards Authority said the changes were inadequate.

Banning the advert from appearing again, the ASA said: “We considered that the ad did not make sufficiently clear that consumers would incur additional charges for the 22kg baggage allowance, and therefore concluded that it was misleading.”

“We told to ensure that their ads did not misleadingly imply that luggage allowance was included in the price of their flights if that was not the case.

“We also told to ensure that significant qualifications, such as the fact that consumers would incur additional charges for the checked baggage allowance, were presented prominently and close to the main claim about their checked baggage allowance.”

In a separate case, the ASA banned an online advert from Sunmaster which claimed a total holiday price of £332.55 when the quoted cost was subject to change.

“We told Sunmaster to ensure that they held adequate substantiation to show that their quoted prices were based on genuine prices available to consumers,” the ASA said.

“We also told them to describe prices that were subject to change as ‘from’ and clearly state that these were subject to limited availability if that was the case, and to state when prices were last updated, when those prices were subject to change and to have processes in place to make sure prices were updated frequently.”

The ASA rejected a complaint against P&O Cruises’ website and direct mailing advertising on-board spending money after a consumer complained that it did not make clear that a discretionary service charge of £6 per person per night was taken from a customer’s on-board account.

“Although we acknowledged the complainant’s view that his on-board spend promotional amount was effectively £3 (£45 minus a service charge of £6 per night for seven nights), we understood that the service charge was optional and noted that around half of P&O Cruises’ guests chose either to remove the service charge from their on-board accounts, or to pay a service charge which was different in amount to that applied to their on-board account,” the ASA said.

“We considered that many consumers would find the mechanism in place a practical way of paying a service charge, which they were generally content to do.

“Moreover, we did not consider that the optional service charge or information expressly detailing the mechanism for making that optional payment (namely automatically taking the charge directly from an on-board account) was material information that would influence a consumer’s transactional decision to seek further detail about the various cruises advertised in ads. We therefore concluded that the ads were not misleading.”

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