Airline ads are everywhere – they even advertise on television channels. But how can you tell whether or not the airline is genuine? Is there really such thing as fake airline ads?
Fake airline ads are common. In fact, some airlines even pay other companies to promote their flights. This practice is called paid advertising: Airline ad campaigns often include deceptive information to lure potential customers into buying tickets. While the ads could look real, they are usually created with little regard for quality standards.
Staying on Alert
If a flight company advertises a direct flight from New York City to Dubai, there’s no need to be suspicious because we and many other people have heard of Emirates Airlines.
However, if an airline offers an unannounced “Direct Flight” from Tokyo to San Francisco, that sounds quite unusual. So, when looking up airline schedules, make sure to check those without using third-party sites. Also, watch out for low-quality images used in the online advertisements. If the images don’t seem realistic, it may be a sign that the airline isn’t genuine.
Fake Airline Ads – Airfares
Traveling has never been cheaper by the day so why not take advantage and fly for free? We all know about these cheap airfare deals that pop up every few weeks. And yet, most of them turn out to be fraudulent. There are countless websites promising discounts on every sort of travel service but only a small number deliver what they promise. The trick to spotting a scam website is to determine which ones actually provide legitimate services.
Here are some common red flags:
These websites claim to offer some of the lowest fares available but fail to mention any fees. They also don’t clearly indicate where the advertised tickets will originate or end. It might be better to save your money and use an official airport site instead.
Some websites require you give them personal details before being able to purchase anything. These websites then charge a high commission fee. If the website asks you to fill out forms or download software, beware. You could be giving away private details and paying a hefty premium at the same time.
Unclear terms & conditions
Some websites operate under different names, making it difficult to figure out who’ll be responsible for cancelling your ticket, refunding your cash or replacing lost items.
No customer support
While some websites may ask you for your credit card information, others simply ignore emails. To avoid scammers, always search for contact information on reputable websites first.
If, for example, you randomly come across an airfare ad while on an online casino platform, stay alert. Fake ads are sometimes placed on random pages. To minimize this risk, visit the airline page directly.
The Bottom Line
So far, we’ve mentioned a handful of ways of spotting a fake airline website. Of course, there are more. If you spot a problem with any website, report it by flagging it as spam. That way, the authorities can investigate and resolve the issue. For more tips on how to spot scams, head over to our blog section.