Emirates Airline, based in the UAE, has been fined by a New Zealand court for misleading advertising of its business class flight.
The decision sets a precedent in the way airlines promote their inflight experiences.
The country’s Disputes Tribunal ordered Emirates to pay New Zealand resident Mark Morgan $8,440 after he challenged the airline’s advertising.
Morgan claimed that he saw advertising for flatbed seats featuring minibars and updated entertainment systems before purchasing a business class ticket for a trip from New Zealand to the United Kingdom with his wife.
However, instead of the promised product, Morgan’s flight was operated by an Emirates 777-300ER, featuring the carrier’s most outdated business-class product, without minibars and not fully flat.
Emirates contended that it has the right to modify the type of aircraft operated on specific routes due to operational necessities, but the Disputes Tribunal referee Laura Mueller sided with the travelers, deciding that 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 New Zealand.
The Fair Trading Act 1986 prohibits misleading and deceptive conduct in trade. As a result of the ruling, the Disputes Tribunal ordered Emirates to pay the travelers $8,440.