Misleading Black Friday Deals

Published on Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Consumers warned over misleading Black Friday travel deals

Consumer champion Which? is warning consumers to beware of misleading Black Friday travel deals.

Which? said several special offers for last year’s event turned out to be exaggerated or non-existent upon further investigation.

On Black Friday in 2018 (November 23), Which? Travel analysed promotions advertised by major airlines and holiday companies – before checking the prices again two weeks later to see whether the deals on offer were really worth snapping up.

Ryanair offered 25% off one million seats purchased by midnight on Black Friday for travel between January and April 2019. None of the flights Which? Travel checked were any cheaper on November 23 than they were when checked two weeks later.

Two flights – London Stansted to Oslo and London Stansted to Lanzarote – were actually £5 more expensive on Black Friday.

Out of 10 Ryanair flights, only six routes were available at the headline sale price offered on Black Friday. A sale flight from London Stansted to Barcelona, advertised at £4.88, did not appear to exist at all for the dates advertised.

EasyJet’s Black Friday sale claimed travellers could save £50 on 60,000 short city breaks, but out of the 21 holidays that Which? Travel investigated, eight of them were cheaper just two weeks later.

What’s more, a three-night trip from London Luton to Barcelona in January 2019 was £26 cheaper – 13% less than the Black Friday ‘deal’ price of £203.

Norwegian Air advertised Black Friday discounts ‘up to 30% off short-haul fares and 15% off long-haul fares’. When Which? Travel investigated, the average saving was £6.

The biggest saving, almost £24, was for a flight from London Gatwick to Buenos Aires, which if purchased on Black Friday cost £226 – a less significant 10% off the price Which? Travel found on December 7.

TUI offered discounts codes worth £100 or £150 off selected breaks but these codes failed to work on two of the five holidays that Which? looked at.

An all-inclusive week in Lanzarote, flying from Birmingham, with a discount of £100 was actually only £32 cheaper than the price available two weeks later on December 7.

Norwegian was the only company mentioned that responded to Which? Travel’s request to comment.

The airline explained the saving offered was based on the net not gross fares (excluding taxes and charges), but Which? Travel did not consider this to be clear on Norwegian Air’s website.

Which? urged consumers to think twice before buying a holiday or flight that’s advertised as a Black Friday deal this year and to not feel pressured by time-limited offers.

Which? Travel editor Rory Boland said: “Our research reveals that Black Friday travel deals aren’t always what they appear to be. Avoid disappointment by comparing prices and approach attention-grabbing saving claims with scepticism.”

This year’s Black Friday takes place on November 29.