Heathrow Express, owned by Heathrow, told by ASA to drop its untrue claim it runs every 15 minutes
The Advertising Standards Authority has criticised the claim by Heathrow Express that it runs a service every 15 minutes. A customer had complained that the frequency drops to once every 30 minutes late in the day. Heathrow Express is operated by the Heathrow Express Operating Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Heathrow Airport Holdings. Heathrow Express admitted the ongoing Crossrail engineering works were affecting the service, meaning that three trains in each direction were cancelled after 10pm from Monday to Thursday, leading to a half-hourly service during this time. This was only 2.2% of the total number of trains. However, the ASA said consumers would understand “every 15 minutes” to mean that a Heathrow Express service would be available every 15 minutes throughout the whole day, between 5am to midnight. “We therefore considered that information regarding the hours of operation and the regular reduction in service should have been made clear to consumers as part of the claim itself.”The ASA told Heathrow Express not to repeat the claim “every 15 minutes”. Research published last year suggested that the Heathrow Express was the most expensive airport rail journey in Europe, with flights to Spain available for less.
Heathrow Express is an airport rail link between London Heathrow Airport and Paddington. It opened in 1998 and is operated by the Heathrow Express Operating Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Heathrow Airport Holdings.
Heathrow Express told to drop claim it runs every 15 minutes
Advertising Standards criticises the Heathrow Express claim that it runs a service every 15 minutes
The Heathrow Express is one of Britain’s most expensive rail journeys
By Natalie Paris and PA (Telegraph)
9th Dec 2015
The Heathrow Express can no longer claim it runs “every 15 minutes” after a customer complained that the frequency drops to once every 30 minutes late in the day.
Heathrow Express said its core message of “15 minutes, every 15 minutes” was the service they offered to passengers “in line with overall airport flight patterns”.
But it said the ongoing Crossrail engineering works were affecting the service, meaning that three trains in each direction were cancelled after 10pm from Monday to Thursday, leading to a half-hourly service during this time.
This was the equivalent of 2.2 per cent of trains affected across the week, and the amendment was displayed on the timetable section of the website and on printed timetables available in stations.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said consumers would understand “every 15 minutes” to mean that a Heathrow Express service would be available every 15 minutes throughout the whole day.
It said: “We understood that the service did not operate on a 24-hour basis, but only operated between 5am and midnight, and that it therefore was not available every 15 minutes. Furthermore, we understood that the service during post-10pm operating hours during the week was reduced to a half-hourly service.
“We appreciated that the service was affected by Crossrail engineering work and acknowledged Heathrow Express’ statement that this accounted for only 2.2 per cent of their service, but noted that the reduction in service was regular and ongoing during this period of engineering work, and that it entailed the 15-minute service being unavailable during this time.
“We therefore considered that information regarding the hours of operation and the regular reduction in service should have been made clear to consumers as part of the claim itself.”
It noted that the information was available on the timetable section of the website and on printed timetables, “but we considered that this was insufficiently prominent and also served to contradict the headline claim that the service operated every 15 minutes”.
The ASA told Heathrow Express not to repeat the claim “every 15 minutes”.
A spokeswoman for the Heathrow Express said: “We respect the decision made by the ASA and are now reviewing our advertising because we want to ensure we provide the best service possible for our customers.
“We are proud to offer passengers the quickest possible journey between central London and Heathrow but occasionally there are planned engineering works that may affect our service.
“We recommend passengers check online or on Twitter before they travel.”
Research published last year suggested that the Heathrow Express was the most expensive airport rail journey in Europe, with flights to Spain available for less.
Of the 47 airports in Europe included in the survey for Flightright.com, four of the five most expensive airport trains served London. Stansted was the second costliest to reach by rail – with tickets in 2014 priced at £23.40 one-way (or £33.20 return), followed by Stockholm (£22.07), Gatwick (£17.70) and Luton (£15.50).
Earlier problems Heathrow has had with its adverts being regarded as correct, by the ASA:
Advertising Standards Agency rules Heathrow ads claiming “Those living around us are behind us” are misleading
Heathrow Airport has been told by the ASA that its adverts claiming that “Those living around us are behind us”. Eight people had challenged whether the adverts were misleading and if they could be substantiated. The ASA concluded that the claim exaggerated the level of support for expansion, had not been substantiated and was misleading. They noted that the claims “Those living around us are behind us” and “Locals support it” were not qualified. The ASA considered that most readers would interpret the claims to mean that a clear majority of those living in close proximity to Heathrow Airport supported expansion. The evidence provided, however, showed that only 50% of those surveyed from ten constituencies close to the airport supported expansion. The ASA say the ads must not appear in their current form again. They told Heathrow Airport Ltd to ensure they held sufficient evidence to substantiate their objective marketing claims in future, and to ensure their claims were adequately qualified, without contradiction. John Stewart, chair of HACAN, said: “This judgement is not good news for Heathrow. It undermines a key plank of their campaign that they have strong local support for a third runway.” The ASA ruled against other Heathrow ads in February 2015.
Advertising Standards Authority finds Heathrow advert about increased trade breaches their code and is ‘misleading’
In October 2014 about 13 people send in official complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, on claims being made by Heathrow in its adverts. The ASA looked at 7 different complaints, and considered that 6 passed their standards. However, on the claim by Heathrow in its ads headed:”Expand Heathrow and its’s the economy that takes off” the statement “Direct flights to long-haul destinations build twenty times more trade with them than indirect flights” was found to breach the ASA code. The ASA say the claim was not adequately substantiated and that the ad therefore breached the Code, both by being misleading and by not having proper substantiation. The ASA say the advert “must not appear again in its current form.” They have told Heathrow “to ensure that they held robust substantiation for absolute claims made in their future advertising.” The ASA ruling also says the claim was presented as objective facts rather than an educated assumption and that Heathrow’s own report “One Hub or None”itself cautioned that direct flights would not automatically lead to more trade and that multiple factors could influence the amount of bilateral trade.
Does Heathrow advert implying a small girl needs a 3rd runway, for her future, meet Advertising Standards?
The ASA took a long time considering this one, but finally did not rule against it. Details at
And for Gatwick:
Gatwick adverts banned by ASA for ‘misleading public’ on comparing numbers affected by noise of new runways
Misleading adverts produced by Gatwick Airport about the noise from a new Heathrow runway have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The ASA received five complaints about the ads. It upheld two complaints about the posters, which compared the number of people affected by a new runway being built at Heathrow or Gatwick. It said the basis for the airport’s comparisons was unclear. The banned posters stated that “320,000 additional people will be affected by noise from a new runway at Heathrow. Compared to 18,000 at Gatwick”. The ASA said the use of the word “additional” could be misinterpreted to mean the number of people newly affected by expansion, on top of those currently affected. Two of the complainants challenged whether the comparison was verifiable, while another two challenged whether the adverts omitted material information about the flight paths. The ASA said the comparison the airport made was unclear. Details of the ASA ruling below. Gatwick said it disagreed with the decision and may appeal, but the advert in question will not be used again and Gatwick will take on board the ASA’s comments if it uses the Commission’s figures in a different advert.