Azara Blog: Ryanair cancels bookings of customers who did not book via their website

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Date published: 2008/08/08

The BBC says:

Ryanair is to cancel thousands of its own customers' bookings after they were made through internet travel agents whose activities it says are illegal.

The airline is targeting price comparison websites on which you can buy Ryanair flights without having to go directly to the Irish firm's site.

Ryanair says this is against its terms and conditions, and the technology used slows down its site for other users.

But travel agents said the move was "foolish" and "unreasonable".

Consumer groups said they were "stunned" by the move.

So-called "screenscraping" websites account for about 0.5% of Ryanair's bookings, equivalent to about a thousand a day.
Ryanair has taken legal action against Italian company BravoFly to force it to stop screen scraping the airline's website, having earlier taken similar steps against German firm V-tours.

Ryanair defended its decision to cancel bookings made this way for trips from Monday onwards, saying it was "a quicker and more effective way of discouraging this unlawful activity".
Passengers whose bookings have been cancelled will be compensated.

However, if the price comparison websites fail to tell passengers that their flights have been cancelled, there is little to prevent those affected turning up at airports all over Europe without a seat on a plane.

Ryanair did not get to where it is today by being a shrinking violet. It would be interesting to see what percentage of load on the Ryanair website is caused by these other websites, presumably much higher than 0.5% or Ryanair would not be acting like this. In any case, they are fully within their rights to do so, and this seems as good a method as any to get these other websites to desist. But presumably the academic middle class people who run the EU could well attempt to make this behaviour illegal, given their general anti-private-corporate and specific anti-Ryanair mentality.

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