Ryanair have defended their recent advertisement promoting bookings for Easter and summer holidays, claiming it is both “factual and accurate” as vaccines are currently being rolled out.
The advert, which aired in the UK and Ireland, encouraged consumers to book foreign travel with the airline after having received vaccinations, using the tagline “jab and go”.
The advertising campaign shows young people engaging in activities such as diving into a pool and being served at a restaurant with no masks being worn or social distancing being observed.
Complaints were made by people who felt the advert was misleading as it suggested most people would be vaccinated by spring or summer and therefore be able to travel abroad and that being vaccinated meant no longer having to follow health restrictions.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK agreed to remove the advert after receiving 2,370 complaints since it first aired on St Stephen’s Day, making it the third most complained about of all time.
The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) said it received 106 complaints, 92 of which related to Irish media outlets who aired the controversial advert.
The airline hit back at the ASA’s decision to pull the advert from UK and Irish channels, describing it as a “baseless ruling”.
A Ryanair spokesperson said: “The ASA’s ruling flies in the face of the UK’s successful vaccine rollout, however even though this ruling is baseless, Ryanair will comply with it and the Jab & Go adverts will not run again.”
In a statement issued today, Ryanair claimed that all advertising by other airlines, tour operators, and travel agents for travel or holidays this Easter and summer should also be banned.
“Not only are vaccines coming but the UK Government have confirmed that all high risk groups (over 70’s) and frontline healthcare workers will be vaccinated by mid-February, which gives UK customers more confidence to book for Easter and Summer, and if their travel plans change then no change fee applies,” the statement said.
The ad ban comes just days after Dr Tony Holohan ruled out the possibility of foreign travel for Irish people this summer.
Speaking at a briefing on Monday, Dr Holohan said: “I don’t think we are heading for a summer where millions of people from this part of the world can be heading to beaches that are other than in their own localities.”
Dr Holohan added that while he appreciated everyone wanted a traditional summer break away, he doesn’t believe it is realistic this year.