After filing numerous lawsuits and a high-profile publicity campaign against online travel agents, Ryanair will finally allow a flight aggregator website to officially sell its flights as part of bundled package holiday bookings.
Ryanair has accused popular online travel agents like ‘On the Beach’, eDreams and Trip.com of ‘scamming’ and ‘duping’ customers into buying overpriced Ryanair flights, which could be bought on the official Ryanair website for a lot less.
The Dublin-based low-cost carrier has tried to prevent online travel websites from displaying its flights on their websites, but Ryanair spokesperson Dara Brady has accused flight aggregators of ‘online piracy’.
Using so-called ‘screen scraping’ technology, these websites are able to illegally display and sell Ryanair flights without the airline’s permission, Brady claims.
In some cases, Ryanair says these websites deliberately overcharge for popular add-ons like seat selection and check-in luggage. In one case, Trip.com was accused of trying to sell a flight which cost just €18 on the Ryanair website for €6,699.
But now Ryanair has penned a deal with online travel agent ‘Loveholidays’ allowing the website to sell Ryanair flights, seats, and bags as part of a package holiday. The deal means that flights and all ancillary charges will cost the same as what it could cost to purchase on the official Ryanair website.
To seal the deal, ‘Loveholidays’ agreed to provide Ryanair with customers’ real email addresses, allowing the airline to send pre-flight communications directly to passengers and pass on information in the event of disruption.
Late last year, Ryanair won an injunction in the Irish High Court after successfully convincing the court that screenscraping was unlawful. The airline doesn’t have a commercial relationship with any other online travel agent and has put in a number of measures to make life more difficult for screenscraping websites.
If consumers do buy a Ryanair flight from an unauthorized online travel agent, they are now required to complete an identity verification process on the Ryanair website. Failing to do so will void their ticket.
Subscribe to our newsletter
No spam, just a weekly roundup of the best aviation news that you don’t want to miss