Money Grouse: An unhappy landing

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The Independent Online
CHEAP travel offers conditional on the purchase of another product can be annoying if they fail to live up to expectations - as thousands of angry Hoover customers will testify.

This is certainly the case for freelance television director Dafydd Williams. He spent pounds 600 on groceries from Sainsbury's to qualify for a 30 per cent discount on British Airways tickets to Australia - only to find they were much cheaper from a travel agent.

Mr Williams, from Llandaff, Cardiff, said: 'I'm not angry or upset at what happened. I simply feel disappointed in myself for falling for it.'

Last year, Sainsbury's teamed up with British Airways to offer shoppers large discounts on flights all over the world. But, as always, the small print carried one important proviso - the discounts related to the publicly quoted ticket price, not any other available prices.

In Mr Williams' case British Airways quoted a full ticket price of pounds 606 for a flight to Sydney later this month. With a 30 per cent discount, this came to pounds 424.

He also contacted Travelbag, specialising in travel to Australia. The result was a ticket on the very same flight for pounds 382 - pounds 42 cheaper.

Mr Williams said: 'The irony is that we actually changed our shopping habits to take advantage of this offer. We are hoping to emigrate to Australia later this year and this seemed a good idea.'

A Sainsbury's spokeswoman said the promotion had been extremely successful.

She added: 'We did not guarantee that the discounted flights would be the cheapest available. But where a customer was able to obtain a cheaper British Airways flight from another source Sainsbury's was happy to refund the difference.'

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