RYANAIR has emerged victorious from the latest battle in its long running war with online travel agencies.

The low-cost airline has frequently complained about the ‘illegal’ behaviour of well-known companies such as Booking.com, eDreams, Gotogate, Kiwi and Opodo.

And a court in Barcelona has agreed, ruling that ‘OTAs do not have commercial agreements with Ryanair and are not authorised by the company to sell its flights.’ 

Ryanair has frequently insisted that OTAs sell its tickets without authorisation, apply extra charges to customers, obstruct direct communications between Ryanair and customers, and block refunds by not providing correct customer information.

It has also accused OTAs of ‘screen scraping’ – scanning an airline’s website, presenting flight options to customers, and booking the flight on their behalf.

Spanish travel agency association ACAVE filed a lawsuit in September 2021 over the Irish airline’s attacks ‘on the reputations of its members’.

The association pointed out that the company had publicly accused agencies of engaging in ‘illicit activities’.

Yet the Barcelona court stated that Ryanair’s accusations are ‘true, objective, and relevant.’ 

“We welcome this court ruling, which raises awareness of the damage caused to Ryanair and our customers by OTAs that overcharge customers, frustrate our ability to contact customers directly with important flight updates, and block refunds to which users are entitled,” said Dara Brady, the airline’s marketing director.

He also urged customers to avoid using OTAs and book flights with Ryanair directly.

The ruling comes as consumer rights magazine Which? reveals that booking flights through OTAs can work out as £100 more expensive than booking directly with airlines due to ‘eye watering’ rates for extras such as luggage and seat selection.


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