Black Friday: Ryanair, TUI accused of ‘exaggerated’ deals
Consumer watchdog says airfares were no cheaper than when checked two weeks later
Ryanair said it ‘expressly advertises that sale fares are subject to availability so it is not surprising that, by the time Which? eventually got around to checking the sale prices, some of the sale prices were no longer available.’ Photograph: Pascal Pavani/AFP via Getty Images
Consumers have been urged to view sale prices promoted on the last Friday of November with scepticism after research from Britain’s consumer watchdog revealed that many apparently special offers turned out to be anything but special.
Black Friday in 2018 fell on November 23rd last year and on that day Which? Travel analysed promotions advertised by airlines and holiday companies before re-checking prices two weeks later to see which deals stacked up.
Ryanair offered 25 per cent off one million seats purchased by midnight on Black Friday for travel between January and April 2019. However none of the flights Which? Travel checked were any cheaper on November 23rd than they were when re-checked two weeks later.
In fact two of the flights in the offer were actually more expensive on Black Friday than they were two weeks later.
Which? Travel also found little availability on some of the ‘deals’ and out of 10 Ryanair flights it examined only six routes were available at the headline sale price offered on Black Friday,while one sale flight “did not appear to exist at all for the dates advertised”, the consumer group said.
In response to the Which? findings a Ryanair spokesman told The Irish Times that it “complies fully with UK advertising laws” and said that it “expressly advertises that sale fares are subject to availability so it is not surprising that, by the time Which? eventually got around to checking the sale prices, some of the sale prices were no longer available.”
Which? Travel also looked at the deals being offered by some tour operators.
It found TUI was offering discounts codes worth £100 or £150 off selected breaks but said these codes failed to work on two of the five holidays Which? looked at.
A TUI spokeswoman said holiday pricing was “very complex and there are many variables which have to be taken in to account.”
She added that these factors could “contribute to price fluctuations from year to year or even throughout the year”.
On the back of its research Which? has urged people to think twice before buying a holiday or flight that is advertised as a Black Friday deal this year and said people should not feel pressured by time-limited offers.
“Nothing beats the feeling of saving hundreds on your next holiday, but that feeling can quickly turn to anger when you discover it would have been cheaper if you’d waited to book,” said Which? Travel editor Rory Boland.
“Our research reveals that Black Friday travel deals aren’t always what they appear to be. Avoid disappointment by comparing prices and approach attention-grabbing saving claims with scepticism.”