The ASA Investigation into SKYTRAX – Clarification

KwikChex has received a number of enquiries regarding the submissions we made to the UK Advertising Standards Authority about SKYTRAX.

For the sake of clarification, the request for the ASA to investigate came about principally when KwikChex was evaluating a number of travel reviews sites to produce an initial guide to consumers. The ranking is primarily based on elements of verification, which helps define aspects such as the likelihood of fake reviews abuse. 

SKYTRAX was included as it bills itself as the ''World's leading airline and airport reviews site'. Initial tests showed that the website did not send a verification email to confirm the email of the reviewer - the most basic verification process. This then led to an examination of the claims made on the site.

The conclusion was that the circumstances were similar to the TripAdvisor case, which was cited by the ASA as a "benchmark ruling which applies to all web sites which make claims about the reliability of their user-created content,"

In the case of SKYTRAX, there are additional elements and the ASA has confirmed that they are investigating the following:

  • Whether the reviews are genuine (e.g. “checked and trusted reviews”, “REAL travellers with “REAL opinions”)
  • The statement that the website contains “more than 5 million” traveller reviews and trip ratings
  • Whether using the title “Official Quality Star Ranking(TM)” falsely implies the ranking system is official
  • The claim that each airline’s Star Ranking is reviewed on average every 2-3 months
  • The reference to trademarks relating to airlines which have been ranked as having 5 stars

Some additional aspects are being considered separately, such as compliance with UK laws regarding the disclosure of information of the legal ownership of the website. In carrying out the evaluation KwikChex was unable to determine this, finding no matches at Companies House with the trading names used on the website or in trademark checks. Enquiries to SKYTRAX by online form, email and phone were unanswered.

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