Popular – or unpopular (depending on your point of view)

21 August 2007

Union-hostile airline Ryanair has been given a serious rap on the knuckles for making a bogus comparison with Eurostar in a recent advertisement.

Claiming their flights to Belgium were quicker and cheaper than taking Eurostar, the Advertising Standards Authority has told the Irish budget airline to can the ads as they’re just not true.

Ryanair claimed their flights from Stansted to Charleroi in Belgium took 70 minutes while Eurostar from Waterloo to Brussels Midi took 131 minutes. The company also claimed their flights were more punctual and a mere £15, while the train was £27.

The ASA said the ad was misleading because consumers may not know that Stansted and Charleroi were not in either London or Brussels and therefore that they’d have to pay to get there. The regulator also slammed Ryanair for using punctuality figures for Eurostar gleaned from an out-of-date, two year old BBC website article, which referred to a dip in Eurostar punctuality due to poor weather and would thus not reflect normal running times.

Ryanair’s repost was that the time and cost of getting to an airport or railway station were ‘irrelevent’ as they applied to both modes of transport.

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