Skift Take

Ryanair has made clear that it is not attacking OTAs as a whole but simply wants to see greater pricing transparency. The airline hasn’t always been the best friend of the consumer but in this case it is right to push for a change.

Ryanair has won another battle in its long-running war with so-called screen scrapers – but insisted the war is not over.

The Irish carrier has been complaining for years that the likes of eDreams and Opodo – both part of the wider eDreams ODIGEO Group – fool its customers by publishing non-existent fares on their own websites.

Now it has secured the backing of UK airline regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which has forced the two companies to make a certain changes to how they do business.

Pricing on both eDreams and Opodo websites has been made more transparent and when consumers click through from Google AdWords it will be made clear that they are not going through to book directly with a specific airline.

The CAA said it took action because the websites had previously “failed to address numerous concerns”.

Ryanair has always had a fractious relationship with third-parties, and only started selling again via global distribution systems (GDSs) in 2014 after a 10-year absence. However, in this case it just appears to want to avoid unnecessarily annoying customers.

Last December it launched legal proceedings against both Google and eDreams and less than 36 hours later claimed the latter had made changes to the way it displayed information.

It also disputed claims that it was somehow anti OTA, pointing out that it had a number of deals in place with, amongst others, Skyscanner.

What Happens Next?

While, Ryanair was understandably pleased with the decision it is pushing for further action to be taken. It is still annoyed about customers facing potential extra charges and also accuses eDreams and Opodo of not passing on information such as flight changes.

Ryanair’s Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs said: “We welcome these enforced changes to the eDreams and Opodo websites and to their misleading pricing practices following our submissions to the UK CAA. Customers were being misled by Google AdWords, copycat subdomains and lookalike websites.

“While these changes will help prevent more customers being misled, it’s important to note that Ryanair has no commercial agreement whatsover with eDreams or Opodo, who continue to engage in unauthorised screenscraping and sell on Ryanair’s low fares at inflated prices.

“We call on the CAA to take further action to stop eDreams and Opodo from advertising non-existent fares, which are then inflated through additional charges and we again urge customers to book directly on the website to avoid eNightmares.”

A spokesperson for eDreams and Opodo said: “We have been working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and we’re pleased that they recognise the work we have done to make our customer experience smoother and clearer.

“We are now offering a new price display so that our customers can more easily compare the prices of their travel options, to continue getting the best and most convenient deals.”


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Tags: edreams odigeo group, otas, ryanair

Photo credit: Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary during a signing ceremony at the 50th Paris Air Show. The airline has welcomed enforcement action taken by the UK's aviation regulator over OTAs eDreams and Opodo. Pascal Rossignol / Reuters

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