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ITOF Calls on Aer Lingus to Remove Claim from Website

ITOF Calls on Aer Lingus to Remove Claim from Website

Earlier this month the Aer Lingus website began offering what it describes as “cheap holidays – holiday deals” under the banner of “The Complete Holiday Solution with Aer Lingus”. This comprises online booking of sun holidays, city breaks, escorted holidays and cruise holidays from ClickandGo.com and TheTravelDepartment.ie. The ClickandGo.com section claims as one reason to book: “25% cheaper than charter tour operators”.

On Monday the Irish Tour Operators Federation responded by asking Aer Lingus to withdraw the ‘25% cheaper’ claim immediately. Chief Executive Flan Clune told Irish Travel Trade News: “This claim is inaccurate, misleading and untrue. We are also concerned at this new development overall and regard it as inappropriate that Aer Lingus should tie up with any one particular operator. The airline had no discussions with ITOF or its members before adding these holidays to its website. We are awaiting a response from Aer Lingus.”

Needless to say, some tour operators and travel agents are viewing this development with weary eyes and see it as a return of the days when Aer Lingus was in direct competition with them through Aer Lingus Holidays. Then in May 1990, in a decisive ministerial move, the Minister for Tourism and Transport, Seamus Brennan TD, instructed the Board of Aer Lingus to take immediate action to close down its tour operating subsidiary at the end of that year.

View Comments (7)

7 Comments

  1. Jim

    August 19, 2011 at 9:00 am

    I think this is a fantastic move for Irish. Fair play to ClickandGo.com and The Travel Department for thinking outside the box and delivering a new, innovative concept for Irish consumers. The more choice for the consumer the better!!

  2. Bridget Donovan

    August 19, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Ireland needs more ideals like this to help us move forward! Gone are the days that we have to relay on traditional methods of selling! It will be a step backwards if the Irish Tour Operators Federation requests are listened to! As Jim rightly said – The more choice for the consumer the better! Here here!!

  3. Ronan Flood

    August 19, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Jim

    That is not the issue, Aer Lingus are free to make commercial partnerships with whoever they like. However they run the risk of alienating every other Irish based tour operator and agent by partnering with just one company.

    The real issue is that the Aer Lingus website claims that their partner offers holidays that are “25% cheaper than charter Tour Operators”

    Understandably the body representing those charter Tour Operators – the Irish Tour Operators Federation (ITOF) are disputing this and calling on Aer Lingus to have that statement withdrawn from their website.

    Regards

    Ronan

    • Bridget Donovan

      August 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm

      Totally disagree….No wonder Ireland is in the state it’s in at the moment. ITOF and their representatives need to step up to the mark, see it as a challenge and build a strategy. Markets are always changing – ITOF should be able to move with the times!!

  4. Eric Higgins

    August 19, 2011 at 11:39 am

    The ITOF should be much more proactive, proficient and progressive in terms of generating business for it’s members rather than undermining, lambasting & supressing pioneering concepts in an industry that is struggling enormously in the current economic climate.

    In these difficult times, this is a classic example of a narrow minded lobby group quelling innovative ideas in order to protect the monopolistic, traditionalist interests of it’s members.

  5. Neil Steedman

    August 19, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    The first issue is whether or not the ClickandGo generalised claim of being “25% cheaper than charter tour operators” is true or not. If it is, and they and Aer Lingus can prove it, then there is no argument. Personally, I don’t think it is true – certainly not as a generalised statement and I doubt if many specific examples can be so produced – and if it isn’t then Aer Lingus should ensure that it is taken down off its website for its own reputation, whether or not it has been asked to by the ITOF or anyone else.

    Commentators above seem to think that what is now being offered on the Aer Lingus website is innovative, pioneering, etc. Are they in the travel industry? Have they never heard of dynamic packaging, the “new” Budget Travel, the Flexibletrips by Thomas Cook (an ITOF member), Travelsavers’ OnlineXpress, etc, etc?

  6. Tony Bond

    August 22, 2011 at 8:41 am

    The claim of a 25% difference may in some cases be true depending on the available air fare element of the booking. However, the converse can also occur at peak periods when airlines can demand high prices. Members of Travelsavers are equipped with the technology not only to check the prices offered by tour operators but also to compare one or all the elements of a holiday in minutes for their clients. To complement this ability they also have the knowledge, gained through years of experience and professional training, to help clients choose the best holiday to suit each individual’s needs. Our members are also available to assist clients before, during and after travel.

    The use by Aer Lingus of their dominent position in the marketplace to propagate a mistruth is not only unfair to tour operators but also misleading to the general public by leading them to believe they are getting the best deal. Independent local travel agents have their clients’ best interest at heart and ensure that the travel experience is the right one.

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NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, copywriter, editor and proofreader for 50 years, and News & Features Editor for ‘Irish Travel Trade News’ for the past 40 years.

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