Emirates Fined For Misleading Business Class Advertising

Emirates Fined For Misleading Business Class Advertising

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Emirates Airline has just lost a lawsuit in New Zealand, which sets an interesting precedent when it comes to how airlines advertise their inflight experiences.

Emirates has to pay traveler $8,440 over misleading ads

New Zealand’s Disputes Tribunal has ordered Emirates to pay a man 13,555 NZD (~8,440 USD) after he challenged the airline for its advertising in New Zealand. Specifically, a man named Mark Morgan splurged on business class for a trip from New Zealand to the United Kingdom that he and his wife were taking.

Morgan claims to have seen advertising for flat bed seats featuring minibars and updated entertainment systems. It’s not entirely clear if the ads he was seeing were for Emirates’ A380 business class, featuring direct aisle access from every seat…

Emirates Airbus A380 business class

…or if they were for Emirates’ 777-200LR business class, featuring fully flat seats with some updated features.

Emirates Boeing 777-200LR business class

Morgan even claims that his ticket receipt from Emirates showed a photo of new business class seating.

Instead his flight was operated by an Emirates 777-300ER, featuring the carrier’s most outdated business class product. These seats don’t have minibars, and technically aren’t fully flat (though they’re about as comfortable as angled seats get).

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER business class
Emirates Boeing 777-300ER business class

Morgan argued that this was false advertising, as Emirates doesn’t advertise the product that it actually offers to New Zealand. This also wasn’t just a one-off aircraft swap, but rather this is the plane that Emirates regularly flies to Auckland.

Emirates argued that its contract with customers allows it to change the aircraft type it flies on routes due to operational requirements, as aircraft types aren’t guaranteed. Furthermore, the airline claims it has to fly this aircraft to New Zealand, because the route is being run at a loss (which is an interesting claim).

Disputes Tribunal referee Laura Mueller sided with the travelers, deciding the following:

“This was the result of advertising a service that they were rarely delivering, not due to an occasional or one-off change of aircraft due to operational requirements. The promotional materials were based on an updated/new business class seat and service that is not in place in the older aircraft that Emirates flies to NZ.”

“The Fair Trading Act 1986 prohibits misleading and deceptive conduct in trade. The advertising of a service that Emirates knew would unlikely be delivered is misleading and deceptive.”

As a result of this, the Disputes Tribunal ordered Emirates to pay the travelers 13,555 NZD:

  • Emirates claimed the service offered was only a 5% reduction in quality compared to what was advertised, and offered a refund of 786 NZD
  • Morgan sought a partial refund for the price of the ticket, plus a refund for the price he paid to upgrade to first class for one leg of the journey, so he and his wife could get lay flat seats in order to be able to sleep
  • The Disputes Tribunal ruled that 13,555 NZD reasonably and fairly reflected the difference in service advertised and paid for, versus the service received

This case sets an interesting precedent

This case sets an interesting precedent, because I feel like we’ve just come to accept the practice of airlines marketing their best products, regardless of whether or not they’re available in a particular market. Now, I’m an experienced traveler, and I know this trick that airlines play, but I can appreciate how less experienced travelers wouldn’t be so skeptical of the “halo effect” approach airlines take to marketing.

For example, take a look at the section of Emirates’ website dedicated to first class. When you go to the section about Emirates’ 777 first class, you’ll exclusively see the new “game changer” first class featured. The catch? That product is only available on nine of Emirates’ 134 Boeing 777-300ER, and there are no plans to install it on any other jets. So the airline is heavily advertising a product that’s only available on 7% of aircraft in the fleet.

Emirates’ first class advertising

Meanwhile when you look at the section of Emirates’ website dedicated to business class, you’ll overwhelmingly see the 777-200LR product featured when discussing the 777 product, even though Emirates has 10 777-200LRs, and 134 777-300ERs. That’s not the experience most people are going to get.

Emirates’ business class advertising

Airlines could certainly do a much better job of advertising in good faith. While that’s true at all airlines, it’s especially bad at Emirates, given the massive seat quality difference throughout the fleet.

Now, admittedly the average traveler doesn’t read all kinds of reviews and spend hours comparing products before booking a flight. But I think it’s at least worth mentioning that this kind of disappointment can be avoided by doing some research online.

If you search online for a review of Emirates’ 777-300ER business class, it’s pretty clear what kind of an experience you’ll get. Heck, just check out my review, titled “Emirates’ Disappointing 777 Business Class.” Again, customers shouldn’t have to do that, but given how airlines advertise, I think it’s a good use of time.

I am curious exactly what advertisement this particular traveler saw. Was it an ad specifically targeting the New Zealand market (in which case that’s totally false advertising, if that product is never offered to New Zealand), or was this just Emirates’ generic website and email pictures, which are the same globally (though probably shouldn’t be)?

Bottom line

A man from New Zealand paid to fly Emirates business class to the United Kingdom, and wasn’t happy with the quality of the product. While the Dubai-based carrier heavily markets its new products, this isn’t what’s available on flights to & from New Zealand. The Disputes Tribunal found Emirates to be engaged in deceptive and misleading advertising, and ordered the airline to pay the man over 8,000 USD.

This sets an interesting precedent. Airlines are notorious for marketing their best products, even if they’re only available on a small percentage of the fleet. While that’s not great for managing expectations, one has to wonder how much airlines should be on the hook for this, as this might completely change the way that airlines advertise.

Heck, requiring airlines to be a bit more honest in this regard would probably be good, because maybe it’ll cause Emirates to finally invest in its lackluster 777-300ER business class.

What’s your take on this case?

(Tip of the hat to Niels)

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  1. Timi A. Guest

    Emirates was advertising the A380 business class in New Zealand, and passengers are also being shown pictures of their best business class when trying to sell upgrades. You don't have to be an expert flyer to expect one thing only to get something else
    Equipment change is a common occurrence, especially with airlines that operate a diverse fleet of aircraft, but customers still don't expect to get what something inferior to what they paid for.

  2. Merg Guest

    I did my research, booked a flight for the spring using Chase points (transferred to Emirates, which of course is a 1-way transfer). Booked round trip from JFK to MXP on Emirates. When I booked it, it was on their A380, which is why I chose it. Happened to look at my reservation today and see they've swapped it for the vastly inferior 777-300. Far as I can tell, have zero recourse. Would 100% have...

    I did my research, booked a flight for the spring using Chase points (transferred to Emirates, which of course is a 1-way transfer). Booked round trip from JFK to MXP on Emirates. When I booked it, it was on their A380, which is why I chose it. Happened to look at my reservation today and see they've swapped it for the vastly inferior 777-300. Far as I can tell, have zero recourse. Would 100% have used a different airline to book with points before spending it on Emirates in a 2-3-2 config. Never even considered they'd make the swap, they've been flying the A380 on that route since 2015.

  3. Just common sense Guest

    I think Emirates should be penalized more to stop them false advertising. It should be a class-action law as they kept doing it and got away with it for a long time. This won't teach them a lesson as the penalty is peanuts for them. But good to know, next time let them try it and I may retire early..;)

  4. Tanya Guest

    I spend countless hours researching different available business class options when flying internationally, both the airline and what they offer in business class. I utilize Seat Guru when possible as well as videos, websites, travel blogger info, etc., but as I am not a travel blogger, I have to rely only on what tools are available to me. If an airline is deliberately misleading the consumer, they should be held accountable. Hopefully it will be...

    I spend countless hours researching different available business class options when flying internationally, both the airline and what they offer in business class. I utilize Seat Guru when possible as well as videos, websites, travel blogger info, etc., but as I am not a travel blogger, I have to rely only on what tools are available to me. If an airline is deliberately misleading the consumer, they should be held accountable. Hopefully it will be a big enough red flag so other airlines re-think their advertising tactics

  5. Lynette Guest

    I recently upgraded (a hefty $1900) to business class for my return flight from Dubai. To say I was disappointed, is putting it mildly. From the pics I saw online, the flight I experienced was far different. That's a lot of money for me, as I am retired, but wanted to treat myself. (I could have taken another trip for that!)
    Live and learn!

  6. Stephen Guest

    My experience with Emirates was Bad, so never just avoid it.

  7. Tony Meola Member

    Good. Too bad Emirates didn't have to pay more.

  8. Klaus D Guest

    Ich selbst habe schlechte Erfahrungen mit der Qatar gemacht. Die Qsuite wurde beworben und war sogar noch 1 Stunde vor Abflug zu buchen. Dann jedoch wurde nur eine sehr alte B777 2-2-2 bereitgestellt. Merkwürdigerweise war diese mit mehr Plätzen dann auch ausgebucht. Meine Beschwerde wurde einfach abgetan, es interessiert niemanden.

  9. Mark Guest

    Nice precedent , as not just Emirates , but a lot of airlines indulge in the same scenario. We may be aviation enthusiasts but most people on the aircraft aren't and shouldn't be expected to have to do research to find out what the aircraft is actually like.

  10. A. K. Albarazi Guest

    Why I am not surprised?.. It is not the first and it won't be the last time at where Emirates would made a FALSE advertisement.. Let alone been very DARING to say that they are operating a LOSING route to NZ.. operating losing route DOESN'T give you the right to SCAM your customers.. In ve8, if anyone wish to see ALL Emirates advertisements comes TRUE, then they must take a flight from Dubai to the...

    Why I am not surprised?.. It is not the first and it won't be the last time at where Emirates would made a FALSE advertisement.. Let alone been very DARING to say that they are operating a LOSING route to NZ.. operating losing route DOESN'T give you the right to SCAM your customers.. In ve8, if anyone wish to see ALL Emirates advertisements comes TRUE, then they must take a flight from Dubai to the UK and vise versa because that is the ONLY route at where Emirates NEVER dare to cheat on since the Emirates founder and CEO is British

  11. Deanna Guest

    I agree they are misleading. We paid for first class to Dubai multiple times, and it's not the new redesigned planes....very disappointing.

  12. Nenad Guest

    Www.seatguru.com is answer, full description on planes that fly on each rute, plus photos of real interiors.

  13. Hassan Guest

    I wish Qatar Airways could also be fined for doing this! Advertising a flight as being equipped with Qsuite and then a day or week before the time downgrade the aircraft to the very ancient and horrible business class

    1. Lara S. Guest

      This is actually not what this is about- that is a legit operations change by Qatar even if it is unfortunate. In this case they advertised a plane they NEVER fly that route. Airlines always caveat that they may have to sometimes change a plane for operational reasons. Unfortunately until they are required to, as someone suggested below, advertise their WORST product only, you will get airlines who are slow to upgrade all planes across...

      This is actually not what this is about- that is a legit operations change by Qatar even if it is unfortunate. In this case they advertised a plane they NEVER fly that route. Airlines always caveat that they may have to sometimes change a plane for operational reasons. Unfortunately until they are required to, as someone suggested below, advertise their WORST product only, you will get airlines who are slow to upgrade all planes across a fleet because they have no incentive to do so. See United advertising Polaris for five years before they actually finished the upgrade, and LH doing same now well before they will get full fleet upgrades.

  14. Shradha AMIN Guest

    We flew BA business class from Mumbai where details said all seats had direct access to aisle . We had the twin middle seats. However, to get to the solar in the middle of the night, I had to jump over the outer seat occupant’s feet on extended bed, and she had put her hand bag by her feet- this made it difficult to jump over, especially due to my arthritis. Perhaps I should let...

    We flew BA business class from Mumbai where details said all seats had direct access to aisle . We had the twin middle seats. However, to get to the solar in the middle of the night, I had to jump over the outer seat occupant’s feet on extended bed, and she had put her hand bag by her feet- this made it difficult to jump over, especially due to my arthritis. Perhaps I should let them know this for future flights .
    Thanks for making me aware of the advertisement/ actual product delivered !
    Shradha Amin

  15. Greg Guest

    To the contrary. I had booked 2 return tickets with Qatar from Europe to Melbourne. When booking it is clear if the flight is their featured Q suite or if its not mentioned it’s assumed as normal business. I had booked flights to take this all the way (was very clear) however when there was an aircraft change on one leg return they notifed me to advise it will not be a q but a...

    To the contrary. I had booked 2 return tickets with Qatar from Europe to Melbourne. When booking it is clear if the flight is their featured Q suite or if its not mentioned it’s assumed as normal business. I had booked flights to take this all the way (was very clear) however when there was an aircraft change on one leg return they notifed me to advise it will not be a q but a standard business and I was free to stop over or change free of charge to a flight booked to my preference. I did not worry and was still very well looked after but it was very good for them to advise.

  16. Kathy Guest

    Dosnt just happen on air craft happens more than not in hotel rooms they need to held accountable for faulse advertisement

  17. Shahrina Kamal Guest

    Good, high time airlines are held accountable for their actions.

  18. Carrie Gold

    Whilst in no way questioning the impartiality of the Referee, one wonders if a similar scenario had been experienced by family or friends known to the tribunal member! The decision appears to be frank and fearless .... and long overdue.

  19. Joe Guest

    Similar things happened to us, we had to upgrade to 1st class from LIS-BKK and back on certain legs. I wonder if I can do the same in a US court.

  20. Al Guest

    Qatar has also a very bad and outdated 770 300 er

  21. Shireen moolla Guest

    I agree. It's false advertising. We too were left disappointed on our recent trip abroad with Qatar advertising Q suite and 5 days before we our much awaited family vacation we were told our business class seating is no longer the Q suite. Plane was cancelled die to operational requirements.

  22. Mara Faubion Guest

    Don't screw with Kiwis! Small, but mighty and fair-minded country :)

  23. Elaine Taylor Guest

    Not had a bad experience with Emirates from Scotland to Australia and back. But another airline who should be pulled up for their advertising is Qatar. Booked QSuite with them last year for a return flight, but the return journey was an old plane with none of comfort I had paid for. No refund or compensation, will not be using them again. Back to Emirates

    1. vlcnc Guest

      This is so silly. Even QR's old seat is still light years ahead of the the garbage that is Emirates business seat, with the stupid middle seat on a lot of planes. Also their cabin crew, soft service and food is light years ahead too.

    2. John Guest

      Sorry to hear about your 'bad experience'. But I'm seriously confused. Qatar on a bad day is still better than Emirates at it's robotic best. QR seats alone are proof of that.

    3. Lara S. Guest

      I am also interested to know why @Greg was offered the chance to change planes/route/timing to get Q-suite but you weren't? I wonder if it is a paid ticket/upgrade/mileage thing or a status thing? It seems like they would offer it to all customers but maybe that is prohibitive in cost. I do like Qatar's soft product (bed linens, food, service etc) far more than Emirates so would probably fly them regardless. And certainly it...

      I am also interested to know why @Greg was offered the chance to change planes/route/timing to get Q-suite but you weren't? I wonder if it is a paid ticket/upgrade/mileage thing or a status thing? It seems like they would offer it to all customers but maybe that is prohibitive in cost. I do like Qatar's soft product (bed linens, food, service etc) far more than Emirates so would probably fly them regardless. And certainly it sounds like Emirates (from this article) has even worse options far more often, statistically.

  24. Sean Paterson Guest

    Knowing the product options (old v new) and the limited number of 777 with the new set up I elected not to take a leg with a 777. In this case the 0830 DXB to FRA. Instead I booked the later 1525hr flight which is on an A380.

    I then waited until closer to the travel day and applied for the Dubai Connect Hotel which is for long layovers. I got this for free along...

    Knowing the product options (old v new) and the limited number of 777 with the new set up I elected not to take a leg with a 777. In this case the 0830 DXB to FRA. Instead I booked the later 1525hr flight which is on an A380.

    I then waited until closer to the travel day and applied for the Dubai Connect Hotel which is for long layovers. I got this for free along with food vouchers and chauffeur pick up/drop off staying at the Marriot Marquis.
    If I didnt get the free hotel I would have paid to use the 1st Class Lounge.

    The A380 to FRA wasn't a refitted interior but the AKL-DXB was.

  25. Queen DZ Guest

    So stupid, Emirates should sue HIM!!!!! fkin kiwis

  26. Michael Guest

    Interesting article and I am 100% with the customer on this one

    Emirates are not the only carrier engaging in this. I recently flew DUB-CDG-MIA in Business class with Air France, returning MIA-CDG-DUB in Premium economy. the Air France website did show that my flight would be configured in the new 1-2-1 config, but guess what, when I boarded it was the absolute terrible 2-2-2 config. I heard 4 American passengers going bananas ( rightly...

    Interesting article and I am 100% with the customer on this one

    Emirates are not the only carrier engaging in this. I recently flew DUB-CDG-MIA in Business class with Air France, returning MIA-CDG-DUB in Premium economy. the Air France website did show that my flight would be configured in the new 1-2-1 config, but guess what, when I boarded it was the absolute terrible 2-2-2 config. I heard 4 American passengers going bananas ( rightly so ) asking why they were downgraded from the Business class product they had going from MIA - CDG earlier

    I had paid with miles and although my total trip was booked in Premium Economy, the CDG - DUB sector has no premium economy on it and the agent tried to charge me to pick my seat

    Airlines have been doing this for years and it's about time someone had the time and inclination to take them on

  27. Ciccio Gullo Guest

    Every airline does the same. Including their beloved Air NZ. Gone thru the same thing. Hypocrites

    1. Stevie Guest

      Actually Air NZ has only one (poor) business class seat advertised and currently marketed/sold so it is not the same situation at all.

  28. Morgan Diamond

    Agree with the myriad of others. Absolutely the customer is right and these airlines are multi-million dollar companies, they can work out how to advertise products differently or advertise their worst product or have a disclosure or something. The average consumer who is not interested points and miles should not have to spend hours researching how to find the aircraft and what seats are which etc.

    And @Ben it's the same thing as e.g....

    Agree with the myriad of others. Absolutely the customer is right and these airlines are multi-million dollar companies, they can work out how to advertise products differently or advertise their worst product or have a disclosure or something. The average consumer who is not interested points and miles should not have to spend hours researching how to find the aircraft and what seats are which etc.

    And @Ben it's the same thing as e.g. the Park Hyatt Melbourne advertising a picture of their king room when in fact its the king room at the Park Hyatt Sydney and if that happened I am sure there would be uproar and the tone of your post would be severely different - but its the same thing.

  29. Dr. K S R Guest

    Of late the staff of Emirates has become arrogant especially for the people of Sub Continent. Traveling from USA to India/Pakistan their behavior is appalling . They should remember that we are doing a favor to them, there are many options for us..

    1. Ahmed Habrooka Guest

      Not favoring them because you took cheap ticket.

  30. Tony Dee Guest

    Not surprised by this and Emirates’ misleading business practices. I bought a business class ticket through the Emirates website, and a few days before departure found out that it did not include a limo pick up, access to their lounge, business class boarding, seat selection in advance, and a few other things. They said because it was a ‘discounted’ ticket they couldn’t honor the business class offerings. To me, a business class ticket is a...

    Not surprised by this and Emirates’ misleading business practices. I bought a business class ticket through the Emirates website, and a few days before departure found out that it did not include a limo pick up, access to their lounge, business class boarding, seat selection in advance, and a few other things. They said because it was a ‘discounted’ ticket they couldn’t honor the business class offerings. To me, a business class ticket is a business class ticket – which is what I thought I was buying with all the perks. It was an eye-opening experience with how they treat customers. I’m glad someone stood up to them and their misleading business practices.

  31. McChicken Guest

    Now we just need someone ballsy enough to sue for not getting Q-Suites…

    1. AA70 Diamond

      I was swapped from a Q suites 359 to a former LATAM 359. I emailed Qatar pretty upset, and they told me the contract of carriage protected the airline from liability relating to aircraft/product swaps. It was 2-2-2 but the seat next to me was empty so it wasn't the end of the world.

  32. Jkjkjk Guest

    JAL always show what product they’re selling with sky suite 1,2,3 pictures available as well.
    So can other airlines.

  33. lebab New Member

    I think it's great that the consumer won against the conglomerate. It's inspired me to sue Emirates next time I get an old First Class seat that doesn't go fully flat and my legs are angled slightly downwards. This has happened a few times on both the SYD>DXB>LHR and SYD>DXB>JFK routes. Surely Emirates can refurbish all its A380s so that the First Class experience is the same. (I'm not referring to the new 777 First Class here.)

  34. Polly.waffle Guest

    The timeless “bait and switch”. The customer is shown the demo version of the service, but the customer experiences the production version of the service.

    1. Andrew Diamond

      Totally agreed. I've been duped by EK as well on the same craft (was supposed to be a380, switched to 777-300er because dolla dolla) 5 days before takeoff with no concessions.

      I think it's a good precedent.

  35. Paul Robson Guest

    Understandably the airline wants to advertise its latest and greatest product.
    But they should be required by law to indicate the percentage of their Aircraft that currently offer that product, as part of the ad, and in bold type…not tucked away in the fine print.

  36. NathanM Guest

    Hard to think of another industry that charges the same price for inferior product types, let alone directly misleads with advertising. Im really glad this case went in favor of the NZ gentleman, as I hope it forces airlines to either provide more transparency into the product type being booked or charges a lesser fee. Just recently I book AirFrance Business from JFK to CDG, and was surprised to see AF pushing advertising of the...

    Hard to think of another industry that charges the same price for inferior product types, let alone directly misleads with advertising. Im really glad this case went in favor of the NZ gentleman, as I hope it forces airlines to either provide more transparency into the product type being booked or charges a lesser fee. Just recently I book AirFrance Business from JFK to CDG, and was surprised to see AF pushing advertising of the new biz class product at my point of selection, despite my knowing it would be the older product on that flight number.

    Imagine selecting a king room at Andaz Chicago that was clearly advertising a picture of a king room at Andaz New York?

  37. Hank Tarn Guest

    This could just lead to the route going seasonal or even being fully cut. Typical woke socialist people of NZ.

    1. Andrew Diamond

      People demanding a quality product. I guess they shouldn't be 'woke' but it's admittedly harder to sleep on angle-flat. =P

    2. Andy N Guest

      Think Mr Tarns name is spelt wrong. The W is missing. What is woke or socialist about standing up to a massive company who are profiteering out of misleading people. It isn’t a last minute tech change of aircraft. They are showing him something he was never going to get. Saying it’s a 5% reduction in service is an insult. Also if it’s loss making why fly it. Probably hoping gullible people like you buy their story.

  38. John Guest

    Sorry, Ben. You're backing the wrong horse. This is a good win for the customer and we all should be glad he prevailed. No ifs, no buts. We're invested, and we know the airlines' tricks, and how to counter them. But in the real world, people aren't like us. They lack knowledge and skills. And they should be able to rely on a basic level of truthfulness from Emirates.

  39. Sherry Guest

    It will be interesting to see how, if this precedent is followed elsewhere, it stacks up for airlines like QR with their QSuites vs sub-par A380 and narrowbody product and BA with their Club World vs Club Suite. All in all, I think it’s good.

    1. Tiger Guest

      I think Qatar Airways should also be taught a lesson due to their last minute swapping of aircraft from those with QSuites to those with their old business class which are in 2-2-2 configuration on their 777s. Does British Airways still offer business class in a 2-4-4 configuration?

    2. Sherry Guest

      Definitely agree with you re: QR. They have the most variation in a premium class of any airline I can think of; QSuites, A380 reverse herringbone product, 777 2-2-2 product, 788 new product, narrowbody flatbeds and narrowbody recliners. Sheesh.

      BA sadly do still offer the horrendous 2-4-2 on their Gatwick-based 777s and all A380s. Also offer the same product (albeit in a 2-3-2) on their 788s and, I think, their 789s.

      Had the...

      Definitely agree with you re: QR. They have the most variation in a premium class of any airline I can think of; QSuites, A380 reverse herringbone product, 777 2-2-2 product, 788 new product, narrowbody flatbeds and narrowbody recliners. Sheesh.

      BA sadly do still offer the horrendous 2-4-2 on their Gatwick-based 777s and all A380s. Also offer the same product (albeit in a 2-3-2) on their 788s and, I think, their 789s.

      Had the displeasure of having a flight out of Heathrow swapped from Club Suites to Club World a few months back…oh the horror.

  40. Bb Tt Guest

    I mean, people can just check which type of airplane flies on the exact flight they booked. It's not that hard.
    By this logic, evey ad ever is misleading. Of course marketing is sugar-coated everything.

    1. MC Guest

      So by your logic, everyone including a 68-year-old grandma would have to understand which airplane Emirates flies on certain date, just because she has to purchase a lie-flat due to her medical conditions?

    2. Andrew Diamond

      Yeah that also doesn't factor in circumstances like mine. I bought my ticket when an a380 was scheduled to fly. They switched it.

      Can I switch my USD to NZD as easily? Can I say "you got a dollar, amirite?" No, one is objectively less valuable. Same thing with goods and services.

    3. Morgan Diamond

      That is like saying the Park Hyatt Melbourne advertising a picture of their king room when in fact it is the king room at the Park Hyatt Sydney is "sugar coating"

      When in fact it is purely misleading and unlawful. This is the same thing, one company advertising a product they offer in a different market.

  41. Grey Diamond

    'While that’s not great for managing expectations, one has to wonder how much airlines should be on the hook for this, as this might completely change the way that airlines advertise.'

    Why is it bad if airlines completely change the way they advertise in order to be more honest?
    I think most people would consider honest advertising to be an improvement...

  42. Benjamin Guest

    Flying Emirates F this week and was looking at this very issue this morning! It is absolutely wrong for them to advertise products that most people won’t get - they need to be clearer and show the different variations or at least mention there could be variations. In F at least the 777 older suite is spacious and in line with the A380 offering other than the lack of shower, but the 777 business product...

    Flying Emirates F this week and was looking at this very issue this morning! It is absolutely wrong for them to advertise products that most people won’t get - they need to be clearer and show the different variations or at least mention there could be variations. In F at least the 777 older suite is spacious and in line with the A380 offering other than the lack of shower, but the 777 business product is generally shocking.

    I’ve deliberately booked my return flight to London Stansted as it’s looking like the gamechanger, but have a sinking feeling I’ll show up to find a different aircraft waiting for me.

  43. james Guest

    Good for the New Zealand court.

    Airlines have long played fast and loose in the manner they advertise products.

    At the end of the day there indeed needs to be truth in advertising, and the consumer should have a basic expectation of receiving what is displayed.

  44. Icarus Guest

    It should be clear on the image or advert that “ the product may not be available on all routes/ aircraft” etc

    In this case if the passengers were travelling to the UK it was available from Dubai to the U.K. and vice versa. Then it makes sense to reimburse a percentage of the affected sectors from Auckland - Dubai and return.

    I can imagine it’s baffling, with airlines introducing new products and having...

    It should be clear on the image or advert that “ the product may not be available on all routes/ aircraft” etc

    In this case if the passengers were travelling to the UK it was available from Dubai to the U.K. and vice versa. Then it makes sense to reimburse a percentage of the affected sectors from Auckland - Dubai and return.

    I can imagine it’s baffling, with airlines introducing new products and having various configurations.

    Even regular travellers and bloggers get confused.

  45. Harry Wong Guest

    All airlines MUST be held accountable for false advertising and grieved customers fully compensated .

  46. Reyyan Diamond

    I see this more often than not. For instance TK is often selling upgrades at check-in with a picture of lie-flat seats although they never operate that route with flat beds like Basel - Istanbul. I think it should be forbidden.

  47. Regis Guest

    Too bad no punitive damages were awarded. If the only potential downside to this practice is paying a few thousand dollars of compensatory damages here and there they won't change their ways.

    1. Harry Guest

      Unfortunately (well fortunately in most cases) NZ law only allows punitive damages in very exceptional cases (gross negligence). However it would be good to see the outcome of this in a US court with punitive damages awarded (if in favour of the customer) to see if there is a change in EK practice

  48. DenB Diamond

    Wow unanimity in the Comments, including me!

    One of OMAAT's biggest benefits is that we can invest time and acquire a map of the minefield that is airline marketing. Civilians don't know it's a minefield, let alone where to get a map. My friends, who know how invested I am in this stuff, wouldn't invest this much time and effort anyway.

    I expect more of these actions, some civil some regulatory. If it results in...

    Wow unanimity in the Comments, including me!

    One of OMAAT's biggest benefits is that we can invest time and acquire a map of the minefield that is airline marketing. Civilians don't know it's a minefield, let alone where to get a map. My friends, who know how invested I am in this stuff, wouldn't invest this much time and effort anyway.

    I expect more of these actions, some civil some regulatory. If it results in some truth in advertising (or compensation for aircraft swaps) I'm in favour.

  49. Daniel Guest

    Pretty disappointing take by Ben.
    1) Although you say you are not blaming the customer, you clearly are.
    2) You are using redherring. It doesn't matter if you can sleep on that angled bed or not. If I was promised flat bed, I want flat bed.
    3) Why are you OK with companies making misleading Ads and actually expect the customer to do "little research." Can we have a world where people...

    Pretty disappointing take by Ben.
    1) Although you say you are not blaming the customer, you clearly are.
    2) You are using redherring. It doesn't matter if you can sleep on that angled bed or not. If I was promised flat bed, I want flat bed.
    3) Why are you OK with companies making misleading Ads and actually expect the customer to do "little research." Can we have a world where people don't have to do research every single time they have to buy something? Isn't it better to place the responsibility on the company to state clearly what they are marketing instead of making the customer to do more research?
    Can we please encourage a culture where we can just get what we expect to get from a reasonable interpretation of marketing material that is shoved at our face?
    4) You are a travelling blog writer. You are an expert in this industry. The vast majority isn't. You shouldn't impose your standard on the vast majority of people.

    1. vlcnc Guest

      It's actually tremendously misleading that the new product is only on less than 7% of the planes they have and none even fly to New Zealand ever.

  50. vlcnc Guest

    I'm sorry but I disagree with you Ben. I think in this case the claim was fair - Emirates are definitely taking liberties here with the advertisement of a product that is basically rarely experienced by the average Business Class customer flying with them. Also as you point out in your post, Emirates claim that he products can vary because of an equipment swap, but that's not the case here as they don't operate that...

    I'm sorry but I disagree with you Ben. I think in this case the claim was fair - Emirates are definitely taking liberties here with the advertisement of a product that is basically rarely experienced by the average Business Class customer flying with them. Also as you point out in your post, Emirates claim that he products can vary because of an equipment swap, but that's not the case here as they don't operate that product to New Zealand nor have intention to and the standard product offered is not as depicted. It's very misleading and I don't think most people are like us avgeek who thoroughly research things before we travel.

    1. Kingsley Roberts Guest

      My wife and I have flown on Emirates numerous times along with various other airlines and without doubt Emirates are by far the worst in every respect. It would be wise to avoid them. For me, never again.

  51. Rick Guest

    This is great news and a win for the customer .Qatar does this frequently where they advertise Qsuites ,but switch in the last min to older planes .

    1. Stuart_in_GA Member

      That is why I am reluctant to book on QR ATL-DOH. Too many swaps to inferior products.

    2. Phillip Diamond

      Yes but at least Qatar’s “other most likely” product is above bar! Emirates consistently advertises a superior product in both First and Business available on a handful of aircraft, yet the most common product is way below bar!

    3. Schar Diamond

      not necesarily. unfortunately Qatar still flies the 2-3-2 old business class seats....

    4. Georg L Guest

      That's true! But the difference is that Qatar let's you know when that happens and allow you top rebook or cancel your flight

  52. Andy Diamond

    Emirates is know for misleading pictures in advertisements. Sometimes, have a picture of the inflight bar with "prices starting from xxx (Economy)" below. Obviously, this is factually correct, but why would you combine a premium product picture with a price related to economy class ...

  53. lasdiner Guest

    Maybe sets a precedent in NZ
    Not in the bigger market where premium customers will continue to be at the mercy of the airlines - and I wish I was at the mercy of EK
    all the time

  54. Charles Guest

    What this guy doesn't get.. Is that he better not be flying Emirates again, on ANY plane they have..
    EK is basically a private airline without any unions..
    If he books a ticket again, just remember..
    HIS DEAD.

  55. Hiro Diamond

    Not all 777-300ERs are equal. The new version (the same aircraft with the latest F product) has the exact same business class seats as their 777-200LRs, except in 2-3-2 configuration. Still, doesn't make a huge difference since the new 77Ws are very few anyway.

  56. Donna Diamond

    Bravo for the plaintiffs! For an airline that advertises luxury across all media all over the world as their big selling point to consistently use this inferior product in a market where they advertise a better one is just wrong. Business Class product inconsistency is a huge issue and is why I avoid many airlines.

  57. polarbear Gold

    Agree with most people here: very few can tell the difference between =300 and -200

  58. pstm91 Diamond

    It's easy to get caught up in sites like OMAAT, Flyertalk, etc. and the worlds of extreme avgeeks/travel-enthusiasts, but it's important to remember that those are very, very small worlds. Even if he had done some research, aircraft equipment types and other related jargon are very complicated/confusing to 99% of people. If EK flies the 7773 on this route, they should not be advertising other (and significantly better) products that do not fly there.

    1. Malc Diamond

      That's exactly right. The average consumer sees an ad and goes okay, that looks nice. Emirates was deliberately deceptive, and they've been called out for it.

    2. TranceXplant Member

      Exactly. Just as most people don't know that there are various versions of any given sports car - it's a Porsche 911, not a Porsche 911 Turbo S - most people don't know that there are numerous versions of any given aircraft. So it's not going to occur to them to ask what type of 777 it is. This doesn't provide cover to a vendor that claims to be selling one set of specs but delivers something else entirely.

  59. Michael_FFM Diamond

    It should not be necessary to perform extensive research, if the product advertised in NZ media is actually the product available to NZ. So it is absolutely ok, even necessary, that the ruling was in his favor.

  60. Never In Doubt Guest

    Glad to see the OMAAT commentariat coming together to denounce the nonsense that "normal" people can / should do the kind of research that the .001% of travelers who read travel blogs do.

    avengersendgamefinalbattle.gif

  61. Marc Cain Guest

    You don’t blame the consumer for believing an advertisement you hold the company accountable for not delivering what they advertised. I shouldn’t have to “research” every airline and plane out there to make sure I’ll get what I was advertised- I’m not a travel blogger. I hope this spreads and all airlines are held accountable. not only for the seats but everything else they promise.

  62. Gugs815 Guest

    I agree with others. Us avgeeks and airline industry obsessed reading this blog and others would of course commit time to research the routes, plans and seats. We are however in the minority and most (95% +/-) will make a purchase based on route, timing and possibly upgrade based on advertising. Cash grab or not this seems like a valid claim. Will be interesting to see if this has any actual impact on Emirates advertising...

    I agree with others. Us avgeeks and airline industry obsessed reading this blog and others would of course commit time to research the routes, plans and seats. We are however in the minority and most (95% +/-) will make a purchase based on route, timing and possibly upgrade based on advertising. Cash grab or not this seems like a valid claim. Will be interesting to see if this has any actual impact on Emirates advertising policies or if it will only impact local websites in New Zealand, etc. where they’re “best” product rarely if ever flies.

  63. Sam Guest

    Silly argument by OMAAT. The customer sees an advertisement and decides to purchase it. They are not obligated to research the product. No everyone is an avgeek.

  64. Phil G Guest

    The majority of people struggle to get themselves around an airport never mind researching the airline for their schedules etc.

  65. Alonzo Diamond

    95% of people aren't us. They don't read these websites, they don't know that different planes have different styles of experiences. Good for him for suing. Airlines need to be way more transparent with what product people are paying tens of thousands of dollars or hundreds of thousands of points in some instances. Pictures of exactly what you're getting go a long way. Updates when equipment swaps happen, even if last minute, should be mandatory.

  66. VladG Gold

    People are not obligated to "do their research" before flying, and there is no excuse for Emirates to advertise a business class product in New Zealand that has literally never flown there.

    Forcing airlines to advertise their worst product instead of their best would set a fantastic precedent, instead of allowing airlines like Emirates or Lufthansa to take 10+ years to harmonise their fleets.

    European airlines are also extremely guilty of this - I've been...

    People are not obligated to "do their research" before flying, and there is no excuse for Emirates to advertise a business class product in New Zealand that has literally never flown there.

    Forcing airlines to advertise their worst product instead of their best would set a fantastic precedent, instead of allowing airlines like Emirates or Lufthansa to take 10+ years to harmonise their fleets.

    European airlines are also extremely guilty of this - I've been offered to "bid for an upgrade to business" countless times through emails showing lie-flat seats whereas the actual flight was on an airplane with a Eurobusiness config. I hope cases (and outcomes) such as this become more and more numerous.

  67. TPOL Guest

    Blaming the consumer for not doing research? People see and buy. That's why businesses advertise.

  68. Clem Diamond

    Honestly, I feel like the vast majority of people will not research flight reviews (some of them might not even aware it's a thing). Many people who don't travel often are not even aware that an airline might have different types of seats, and definitely not be acquainted with aircraft types. So they might have seen an advertisement, wanted to splurge for business class and it was probably the easiest option to the UK and...

    Honestly, I feel like the vast majority of people will not research flight reviews (some of them might not even aware it's a thing). Many people who don't travel often are not even aware that an airline might have different types of seats, and definitely not be acquainted with aircraft types. So they might have seen an advertisement, wanted to splurge for business class and it was probably the easiest option to the UK and just went with it. So I could be completely wrong, but that seems like it could have been a completely legit complaint and not a money grab.

    1. Tommy Guest

      We have just spent a huge amount of our savings to fly to Bali to get married...business class on Emirates. We saw it was a 377 from dubai to bali and there video of business class on their site looked good so we booked. We had no idea only some planes are upgraded to standard advertised. On our return leg from Bali to Dubai we have now seen there ia an earlier by 4 hour...

      We have just spent a huge amount of our savings to fly to Bali to get married...business class on Emirates. We saw it was a 377 from dubai to bali and there video of business class on their site looked good so we booked. We had no idea only some planes are upgraded to standard advertised. On our return leg from Bali to Dubai we have now seen there ia an earlier by 4 hour flight available on the A380 so requested to change to thar. Emirates want to charge us £800 to do this even though plenty business class seats available at same price we paid. Also stating aircraft can change however it is not changing as they never use the new upgraded 377 aircraft on this route. Even on booking confirmation only tells you it is a 377. We have asked to cancel but told us £1000 to do so so stuck with it now but going to take it all the way on our return...and we have been given different info re the aircraft used to bali by everyone we communicate with. Very disappointing when it is a very special trip which we would never have paid for if we had known.

  69. Evan Guest

    Honesty in advertising is essential. No customer should be expected to do any additional research to verify the product. Car advertising has all kinds of disclosures regarding “available” features and so airlines should be expected to do the same.

    1. Vancouver - Char Diamond

      that is a true comment

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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VladG Gold

People are not obligated to "do their research" before flying, and there is no excuse for Emirates to advertise a business class product in New Zealand that has literally never flown there. Forcing airlines to advertise their worst product instead of their best would set a fantastic precedent, instead of allowing airlines like Emirates or Lufthansa to take 10+ years to harmonise their fleets. European airlines are also extremely guilty of this - I've been offered to "bid for an upgrade to business" countless times through emails showing lie-flat seats whereas the actual flight was on an airplane with a Eurobusiness config. I hope cases (and outcomes) such as this become more and more numerous.

15
Marc Cain Guest

You don’t blame the consumer for believing an advertisement you hold the company accountable for not delivering what they advertised. I shouldn’t have to “research” every airline and plane out there to make sure I’ll get what I was advertised- I’m not a travel blogger. I hope this spreads and all airlines are held accountable. not only for the seats but everything else they promise.

10
Malc Diamond

That's exactly right. The average consumer sees an ad and goes okay, that looks nice. Emirates was deliberately deceptive, and they've been called out for it.

7
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