Ryanair has struck a deal with an online travel agent that only a couple of months ago it described as the “no.1 pirate” for “scams and overcharges” as it sought to prevent flight aggregator websites from displaying and selling Ryanair flights.
After a high-profile campaign against the likes of Kiwi.com and ‘Love Holidays’, the Irish low-cost airline finally convinced a Dublin court to issue an injunction preventing online travel agencies from selling Ryanair flights.
While the injunction was a victory of sorts, it had an almost immediate effect on Ryanair’s bottom line and on Monday, the airline admitted that fares during the busy Christmas travel season were “softer” than originally expected because of the removal of its flights from online travel agency websites.
Without the aggregator websites acting as a shop window for Ryanair, the airline was forced to quickly lower fares to encourage passengers to book direct, and now Ryanair is quickly striking deals with the same websites it as so critical of only weeks ago.
Ryanair has already agreed to allow ‘Love Holidays’ to sell its flights as part of bundled package holidays, and on Monday, the airline said it had now struck a deal with Kiwi.com – a company Ryanair previously said would “prey on unsuspecting consumers with unjustified fees and charges”.
The deal will allow Kiwi.com to access and sell Ryanair flights directly without relying on the so-called ‘screen scraping’ method in which bots crawl data from the Ryanair website in order to display the information on a third-party website.
“Ryanair has long campaigned for all consumers to be protected from OTA Pirate overcharges and scams, and to eliminate fake customer contact and payment info being provided to airlines,” commented Ryanair spokesperson Dara Brady.
“This new partnership with Kiwi represents a significant step in achieving that protection for all Kiwi customers who will now get access to Ryanair’s low fares and ancillary services with no overcharges, which will enable Kiwi to offer Ryanair’s low prices to all its customers.”
Of course, the injunction is no doubt having a big impact on online travel agents as well, so expect more deals to be struck in the coming week. No doubt, Ryanair will be making sure it fully benefits from any agreement.
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