BT hoovers up broadband punters with 'free' flights

BT hoovers up broadband punters with 'free' flights

Summary: Subsidised travel could attract more people to BT's broadband range, if they aren't put off by all the conditions

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TOPICS: Networking
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BT has unveiled its latest weapon in the fight to sign up broadband customers -- subsidised air travel.

Any customer who subscribes to one of BT's consumer high-speed Internet access packages before 20 June will receive a voucher entitling them to a return economy flight to one of 11 airports in Europe and the US.

"This is yet another example of BT taking the lead in the market to drive broadband uptake and make Broadband Britain a reality," claimed Duncan Ingram, managing director of BT Openworld. "For anybody who may have been recently thinking about installing broadband in their home, now is the time."

However, BT's offer is subject to a number of conditions which have the potential to leave some customers paying more than they might expect.

For a start, the flights aren't completely free, as customers will have to pay airport tax and any travel insurance in order to get to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Nice, Paris, Prague, Atlanta, Boston, New York, Philadelphia or Washington.

Also, customers can only depart from Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester. BT has warned that it's not possible to reach all 11 destinations directly from each of these four UK airports, and that customers will have pay to get themselves to the departure lounge (apart for Northern Ireland residents who also will get a return flight from Belfast to a mainland UK airport).

Voucher-holders will only be eligible to travel with "selected airlines" -- which BT says "may include BMI, British Airways, Air France, KLM and easyJet".

Once a customer has signed up, they need to give BT at least 45 days' warning of the day on which they want to travel. And finally, flights to the US airports can also not be taken during July or August.

Despite these restrictions, BT's offer could stimulate higher broadband take-up in the UK. Several rival ISPs have recently announced cheaper products, so customers will have to decide whether to plump for a subsidised flight rather than another ADSL product that might be a few pounds a month cheaper.

BT must also avoid repeating the experience of Hoover, which in the early 1990s ran a promotion where anyone who spent more than £100 on a Hoover product got a free flight to America. This offer was hugely popular -- as flights to the US at that time cost much more than £100. But the promotion proved a disaster, as Hoover hasn't anticipated the level of demand, and resulted in legal action from customers who accused the company of invoking bogus technicalities to avoid paying for their flights.

Topic: Networking

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216 comments
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  • I just hope that this Free Flight Promotion is better orgainized than the know Infamous Hoover Flight Fiasco. It was a Fiasco from start to the end! At one time there were more writs flying than Hoover Customers!
    anonymous
  • I also see that Energylinx, one of the larger energy price comparisons is also offering free flights.
    anonymous
  • Should put Harry Cichy, in charge of all,
    " Free Flight Offers", then all will get there flights!
    anonymous
  • I watched the BBC2 Program, Hoover Flight Fiasco, part of the Trouble At The Top series.
    It was a great documentry like they used to be made! Give us more! Those three guys who crashed the Maytag AGM, should be put forward for an award?
    anonymous
  • The BBC 2 Trouble at The Top Team showed the Hoover Flight Fiasco from start to finish.
    I thought it was a good even handed view.
    I am sure there was a lot more that could have" gone in". I am sure" Maytag" team of Lawyers watched this one. The program & it's makers should be very proud ! Keep it up BBC!!
    anonymous
  • BBC Trouble At The Top, " Hoover Flight Fiasco", 1.7million viewers watched the Documentary on a start to finish insight inoto the troubled Hoover promotion. It showed at the start Hoover had not even purchased the flight tickets, however in the end they had to purchase over 220,000 tickets. This was a well made program that gave an even handed view. The three guys who went to the USA,
    to ask Len Hadley CEO, off Hoover's parent the Maytag corporation. (questions on the fiasco), must be the real heroes. On Hadley retirement he said mistakes had been made.
    Harry Cichy leader of the group against Maytag said, " we had our meeting, with Maytag. Obejective acheived!". This most go down as the largest corporate blunder & one that Hoover never really got over!
    anonymous
  • I understand that there is a book out soon on the Hoover Flight Promotion,
    ISBN 0-9546949-0-2
    "Fighting the Corporation."
    Maytag, Harry & Hoover, Should be an interesting read, if the BBC documentary is anything to go by! Harry was allready told;
    " Not to mess with the corporation!"
    The book goes a step further than the BBC documentary. Covering the marketing & brand & how Hoover have managed to keep hold of their Royal Warrant.
    anonymous
  • Hoover Royal Warrant removal. A request to Her Majesty The Queen on the removal of Hoover's Royal Warrant. Following the recent
    BBC Documentary on the Hoover Flight Fiasco.
    anonymous
  • Maytag owners of Hoover Europe at the time of the Hoover Flights Fiasco, workers at their Newton HQ, Iowa, USA, have been on Strike. They will resume talks on the 23 June 2004. The amazing thing on hearing the news today, the 18 June 2004 their stock has taken a masive dive? Could investers in Maytag stock know something more?
    anonymous
  • Hoover should loose their Royal Warrant.
    BBC program said it all!
    anonymous
  • Candy the company that purchased Hoover Europe in 1995 after the Flight Offer from Maytag Corp who still own Hoover in the USA.
    It would seem that Candy have never made a comment on the Hoover Fiasco? Did they really know what a legacy they purchased?
    anonymous
  • Candy & The Hoover Royal Warrant? Since Candy purchased Hoover from USA owners Maytag, why did the Royal Warrant get passed on. Candy did not want the liabilty of the Hoover Flight Fiasco? Why should they be entitled to the Royal Warrant? Clearley Hoover did not behave in a way that they should hold on to the Royal Warrant. I aggree the Royal Warrant should be removed from all Hoover goods! They are not worthy!
    anonymous
  • Hoover flight offer used,TV adds to sell this offer, many complaints were made to the ASA on this subject? The ISP, ( Institute of Sales Promotions), also made a complaint to the ASA on Hoover? Yet the ASA has not made a judgement or commented on the " Hoover flight Offer". Why?
    anonymous
  • Hoover seem to be more famous these day's for the Know Infamous Hoover Flight Fiasco.
    When you say Hoover these days you no longer think of Vacuums but " Flights"& " Fiasco". It would seem Maytag, Hoover Europe owners at the time, still own Hoover in USA.
    anonymous
  • Hoover " Fiasco" Free Flight BBC with out doubt the Largest Marketing Blunder in the World. There will probably never ever be another Hoover. The fear of another Hoover will keep all those MARKETING Guru's in jobs for life. Hear is some of the names that played a part in the Hoover Fiasco, in hiding? Over the Infamous promotion: Len Hadley retired, Edward H Graham retired, James Powell ?, Richard Rankin Tate & Lyle. Aron Gembling?
    William Foust? Graeme James Aiken?, Brian Webb?, James Gilbey?, Eddie McAvoy?, Graham Cunningham?, Carroline Knight?
    anonymous
  • Never has a promotion like the Hoover Flight Fiasco griped the nation. There is Drama, intrigue, bugging, breakinns, car chases, private detective agency, heavies, media, a documentary on the BBC. Top exectives from Maytag dealing in million's of $, you can not write this stuff! Is there a price on Harry Cichy head yet? His personnell Life Insurance must be High!!!! Great Stuff!!! Keep it up!!!
    anonymous
  • Hoover some pictures on the Infamous Hoover Flight Fiasco at Maytag HQ Dependabilty Square Newton Iowa. Sandy Jack, Harry Cichy & Lee Robertson crash the Maytag AGM. BBC Trouble At The Top crew.
    go to: http://www.groups.aol.com/hoovergate
    anonymous
  • Caroline Kinght was Hoover's spokesperson?
    Seemed to be saying nothing was wrong with the free flight promotion. Rather like Nero watching Rome burn!
    anonymous
  • AVON CALLING?

    Ten years after the Infamous Hoover Free Flight Fiasco & the ASA needs to wait for complaints to come in? Avon gets rapped over 27 complaints on it's Free phone offer?
    750,000 applicants & only 60,000 phones?
    Look how many sales they got? 750,000 applicants generates a whole lot of sales!
    The ASA should have things in place to stop this nonsence? Or have they no Teeth?
    It's Hoover all over again!!
    anonymous
  • Hoover still Number One in the Blunder stakes.
    The Infamous Hoover Free Flight Fiasco still ranks as the Largest corporate Marketing Blunder. Despite Avon calling & having a reported 750,000 applicants for Free phones from Orange shops & only 60,000 phones. Hoover are still number One & have not been toppled in the BLUNDER stakes. Maytag were the owners of Hoover at the time of the Hoover Fiasco, but sold out to Candy Group in 1995 some would say as a direct result of the Flight promotion.
    anonymous