Ryanair advertisements banned after 1000’s of complaints
The ads, which aired in December 2020 and from January 2021, received 2,370 complaints. This makes them the third most frequent complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after a Paddy Power ad from 2014 with 5,525 complaints and an ad from Booking.com 2014/15 with 2,451 complaints.
The ASA, which regulates ads, agreed with the complainants that Ryanair misled viewers into believing they would be vaccinated in time to go away by Easter or summer. It was also ruled that the ads unfairly encouraged people to behave irresponsibly after vaccination and possibly incriminated the NHS by asking those who are currently not allowed to see a family doctor to get a vaccination arrange.
Currently, the NHS in England only offers vaccinations to people aged 80 and over, some to those aged 70 and over, some to the most clinically vulnerable, people who live or work in nursing homes, and health and social workers. Similar rules apply in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Please see our vaccination notice for full details on how to be contacted by the NHS and how to look out for scammers.
Ryanair doesn't believe the ads were "insensitive".
However, the ASA did not confirm the complaints that the ads were harmful or offensive by trivializing the impact of the pandemic.
The low-cost airline told ASA that it had not provided any information about who would be vaccinated, when, how or for how long in order to get protection after vaccination, nor did it claim that vaccinations were a requirement for travel. Ryanair added that the ads were also not insensitive to people who had Covid-19 or who lost people to the virus, or to those who worked on the front lines of the pandemic.
A Ryanair spokesperson said: "The ASA's decision contradicts the successful launch of vaccines in the UK. While this decision is unfounded, Ryanair will comply and the Jab & Go ads will not be run again."
All but essential travel is currently prohibited
Under Ryanair's current policy, passengers with bookings made after June 10, 2020 and before March 31, 2021 for travel before October 31, 2021 can make up to two free flight changes – although you will have to pay a fare difference. You must also make the changes at least seven days prior to the scheduled departure date.
However, travel is almost a necessity right now in most of the UK due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions. For more information, see our Coronavirus Travel Law Guide.