Budget airlines have 'misleading' ads pulled

EasyJet and Ryanair have been criticised by an advertising watchdog for "misleading" holidaymakers in the latest battle of the budget airlines.

Three advertisements, published in national newspapers, were banned for false claims about cheap flights. While easyJet was criticised for stating "we charge you less", its Irish rival – which complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) – was itself rebuked.

The easyJet offer, headlined "The new shape of business travel", angered its competitor which insisted its own fares were cheaper on several routes. Ryanair's objection was upheld and easyJet was ordered not to run the advertisement again.

But Ryanair did not escape unscathed after the watchdog ordered it to pull two of its own promotions.

One, featuring a bikini-clad woman holding a cocktail and the text "book to the sun now", offered flights from £8. Yet a close examination revealed customers were limited to destinations with maximum temperatures of 11C. The selected tourist spots enjoyed as little as three hours of sun each day, the watchdog said.

The second Ryanair advertisement, which offered flights to Dublin for £27.99, prompted complaints because it was apparently impossible to book a flight at the price quoted due to an additional £6 online check-in fee.

Ryanair was unable to "clarify adequately" how the promotional fare could be achieved, the watchdog said.