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Sunday 12 December 2010

A Simply Dishonest Advert

Putting out misleading advertising might be thought to be difficult nowadays. But one player in the airline industry has managed it, and even got its copy into yesterday’s Guardian: not surprisingly, this player is Ryanair, the Millwall of air carriers (everybody hates us and we don’t care).

Michael O’Leary’s finest are clearly keen to drum up traffic into Hahn, which is nowhere near Frankfurt am Main (it’s a whole 120km distant). Hence the advert, which talks of “popular Christmas markets on Rhine and Mosel”, and dispels any concern about Hahn being out of the way by reassuring readers that “Shuttle buses travel to and from Hahn Airport and [Mainz, Koblenz and Trier] many times a day”.

So it’s rather obvious that the focus of the advert is to suggest that day or weekend trips to Hahn to see the Christmas markets are what is on offer. But that would be to trust Ryanair without checking out the small print, and that is never a good idea.

For starters, the headline fare – as little as three pounds per person – is subject to “optional fees/charges”, “subject to availability”, and of course “terms and conditions apply”. But the act of blatant dishonesty is over the validity of the offer: travel must be between January and March.

The Christmas markets in Mainz, Koblenz and Trier all finish before Christmas.

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