Feeds

back to article Ryanair cancels aggregator-booked tickets in escalating scraping war

Ryanair has said that it will no longer honour bookings made through aggregator sites. The Irish budget airline said that cancelling would be quicker and more effective than lawsuits. Ryanair recently sued aggregation company Bravofly in the Irish courts, claiming that its 'screen-scraping', or automatic collection of …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Tom
Silver badge

Well thats me walking..

While I fully agree that Ryan Air should be allowed to cancel these tickets it means I can no longer fly with them as I'm not paying for the MS software that I need to book their flights with.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Pot kettle black

"not paying unnecessary handling charges"

0
0
Bronze badge

The real reason...

Technologies (or worse, court cases), to band screen-scraping just looks like a way of Ryannair preventing customers from easily making price comparisons or making complex multi-company bookings.

To liken screen-scraping to video piracy is just a joke - it's not exactly going to be a secret to the consumer that they are flying Ryannair, and if that turned out to be a nasty suprise, then it's the consumer that needs protection, not that notoriously passenger-unfriendly airline. There's plenty of consumer legislation out there to cover issues like that. Companies should not be allowed to put in place overly restrictive practices essentially introduced to limit competition.

However, I've got no great hopes for the EU given the way that they have supported the effective banning of "grey imports" into the EU.

0
0
Paris Hilton

We don't want your business, thankyou

How retarded is this. They are canceling legitimately booked and paid for customers because they are upset that another website is profiting by booking tens/hundreds/thousands of customers through Ryanair.

I would have thought that Ryanair should be paying them commission, not kicking up a fuss.

To any of you evil nasty "screen scrapers" out there..... please please do not send me thousands of pounds of business to my website by extracting information from my site, I might get upset and have a good public moan about it.

Paris, because she is as intelligent as Ryanair

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Ryanair left my pregnant wife in Italy for 15 hours overnight some years ago.

Refused to tell anyone what was happening, so they couldn't leave the airport in case it turned up, and the staff denied they worked for Ryanair.

As such we've never flown with them since. It's a pointless slimy little outfit as far as I'm concerned.

0
0
Bronze badge
Stop

Re: Well thats me walking..

Actually if you checked, you would know that you can book flights using Firefox - which isn't anything to do with MS.

0
0
Boffin

So the first losers will be the customers?

Presumably this means that any customers unlucky enough to have booked through any of the aggregator services will end up having to fight to get their money back from somewhere. I dare say some of them will also end up at the airport unaware their tickets have been cancelled. Not a situation designed to foster good customer relations.

Though why Ryanair have trouble blocking the scraping at source rather eludes me.I would have thought a few firewall rules would do the job!

0
0
Black Helicopters

So they don't like competition...

As far as I can see it the only reason an airline would not want someone to use one of the price comparison websites is because they think they might loose customers to other airlines that have cheaper or more convenient flights.

Generally when I have found a flight I want on a comparison site I'd check and see if it was cheaper on the airline's site. Either way its a win for that airline.

> Black helicopters because they have more leg room than budget airlines.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Pot kettle black

Ah, rather than the "completely necessary and totally (un)justifiable charges" that Ryaniar impose at every opportunity, thus making your "bargain" £1.99 ticket to Mallorca actually turn out to be more like £150?

0
0

Ryanair treat everyone like rubbish

...so this isn't surprising in the least. We had to fly with them two years ago, on their site it said in case of emergencies, such as bereavements they'd fly you back on the next flight, no extra charge. Well my wife's grandmother died suddenly, we went to fly back, as per their website. Nope, £400 to fly back from the UK to Ireland.

I hope Ryanair rot. They are horrible as an airline.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Cart... meet horse.... the thing with four legs behind you!

If Ryanair can detect which bookings have come via aggregation web sites then why doesn't it just block the tickets being booked in the first place?

...rather than letting the poor punter (who is likely to be completely unaware of this nonsense and a blameless victim of it) book a ticket only to have it cancelled again later. And if the ticket is booked very late then the poor sod may not even know it's been cancelled until he's standing in the lovely Ryanair check-in queue at the airport!

Mind you, Ryanair (being Ryanair, of course) will probably still find some excuse to charge said poor sod of a punter for the privilege of being pissed about!

0
0
Thumb Down

MS?

Not knowing what Tom was talking about, I checked to see if you needed something unusual to view their site. Having been there, I still don't know what Tom was talking about, but I have gained a headache.

0
0

RE: Well thats me walking..

You're not paying for the MS software that you need to book their flights with? What the hell does that mean? Are you saying that you *need* to use Windows to use their site, and you use Linux? Surely Firefox still works. It does on Windows.

0
0
Paris Hilton

Umm, Tom, What planet are you on?

I am a user of SuSe linux and Firefox, and I've never had an issue booking tickets with Ryanair? (I do with their 'Where we fly map' but thats an inconvenience that I'm simply too lazy to sort out - mainframes all day, not inclined to fix Linux by night... the pub might get lonely without me)

What MS software do you need to browse the web? and if you did need Microsoft Internet Explorer, then you dont have to pay for it? You could even run it in Wine, or one of the other Win-Doze emulators...

I tend to fly with ryanair 90% of the time these days, as they're reasonably priced, and even with the taxes (which you will pay no matter what airline you fly with) they are the cheapest choice going.

I do agree with AC above... the unneccesary handling charges when you pay by any type of card going, though I accept that most companies just bundle those into their prices, so at least ryanair are being upfront instead of bundling them up and adding a bit of profit margin......

Paris because... .. ... . well... ..... .. um .. . ... . do i need a reason? Hows about I'd rather she was running the states than John McCain?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Just block the sites?

Well, if they know where the bookings are coming from, they can just not accept the booking in the first place. Cancelling accepted bookings is just stupid, people will start to hate them.

If they can't spot the bookings being made, then how do they know which bookings to cancel?

I try to avoid them as it is, the planes are disgusting with constant loud advertising, it's a truly dirty way to fly.

0
0
Happy

excellent typo

"we hope that by getting rid of screens-crapers we will speed up passenger processing times on Ryanair."

sounds more like some dumb move to highten security....

'scuse me sir we have reason to belive you have commited biological war fare in our bogs'

0
0
Stop

How do they know?

Just out of interest, does anyone know HOW Ryanair can spot the difference between legit flights and flights booked through a screen scraper?

If they CAN do that, then why don't they just reject bookings at source using that information?

Is this all hot air, or am I missing something here?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Those who complain about Ryanair

Ryanair is well within its rights to do what they do. If travel comparison sites do the booking on their customer's behalf and charge a commission for that, then yes, the punter IS a mug. Sorry, but it's true. Ryanair does what is best for its revenue stream - protecting it from people who charge more for booking it.

Those who still live under the illusion that Ryanair's fares are really as low as they advertise had better catch a wakeup call. For a quick jump across the puddle on one day with hand-luggage only Ryanair will be ok, but for general travel on holidays and the like, it is NOT recommended.

Someone else commented about how your Ryanair flight might end up costing you 150 quid or more is quite correct. You as a consumer will have to make the sums, and if it doesn't fit, look at the regular carriers. Seasoned travellers regularly do this. They don't need price comparison websites to do their dirty work.

Why anyone would want to pay Ryanair for the privilege of checking in, taking an extra 8 kilos of luggage and paying through the nose, is beyond me.

0
0
Paris Hilton

Why don't they just

print their costs as a GIF/Jpeg - easy in PHP. MS does use PHP don't they ? OOh well, it was a good idea. Obviously if Ryanair screen scrap this great idea from here I'll sue and never use them (never have either).

Paris - something about a twat seems approriate.

0
0

@ Luke Wells

The point is the tickets are not "legitimately booked". The Ryanair T&Cs prohibit screen scrapers from legitimately booking the tickets so like it or not they are not legitimate.

Ryanair are undoubtedly unfriendly and treat people rather harshly but they have also brought serious competition to the market, which has in turn massively reduced prices to where they are today.

Ryanair’s arguments are often distasteful but they are reasonable. Take, for example, the case a few years ago about charging wheelchair passengers more; they were simply passing on a cost that the airport levied. It is silly to expect to pay a few pence for a flight and have the airline cover the unjustified cost levied by the airport. Ryanair are a no frills airline and they don’t pretend to be anything else. You get what you pay for and with Ryanair you pay for everything; you could call it itemised billing. They have the right to offer a service at whatever price and on whatever terms they choose. We have the right to decline their offer.

0
0

Microsoft

I think Tom was alluding to "Ryanair is continuing to work with our software providers, Navitaire and Microsoft to proactively eliminate screen-scraping of Ryanair’s website".

I think it's safe to assume they don't consider MS a software provider because some of their customers use IE.

0
0

Slow news day perchance?

Wasn't this in the paper last week?

0
0
Bronze badge

Site fails

Although that's likely because i won't turn Javascript on for a site that has so little respect for my retinas.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

@ everyone who doesnt get it

Its not because others do it cheaper or any other reason bar Cross-Selling.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-selling

if people use their website, they are more likely to buy other options. Hotels, Cars, parking, events etc etc etc...

0
0

RE: Well thats me walking..

The Ryan Air site uses Microsoft only Silverlight for the routes map, as mentioned by an earlier Register story. I don't know if its needed for booking, but having looked at the steaming pile of shite that is the rest of their site, I wouldn't dream of making a booking with it. As they've now banned comparison sites and 3rd party bookings, they'll not be getting any of my business.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

@4a$$Monkey

Certain sites will include fees on top of the original price of the flight.

If you use some of the search sites etc, the price is exactly the same as on their own site (skyscanner etc). You don't see Ryanair sueing them do you?

@Anonymous Coward

I doubt a £1.99 flight with airport tax, tax, 1 bag and credit card free. Would make nowhere near £150.

People bitch so much about "but its not really that cheap", yes, well we know that. But atleast we have the option of "not" paying to take hold luggage.

My last "99p" flight, cost me £16.50 with 1 hold bag using a debit card.

@Luke Wells

The problem is the site is adding on cost, to which Ryanair doesn't want their prices to be any larger than they are.

Ryanair has been known for ages now of using anything for PR, this is probably just another slight case of kicking up more fuss than is needed.

0
0
Happy

Screenscrapers are useful

Given the headache-inducing nightmare that is Ryanair's website, it's far easier to use one of the aggregators out there to plan your journey.

They even let you link together complicated routes to find the best deal. I think that's what Ryanair are most afraid of...

http://www.skyscanner.net for the win!

0
0

re:So they don't like competition...

actually its more likely to be that assholeair doesn't get the oppertunity to sell insurance, hotels, car hire, STD checks etc, the aggregator gets that juicy bone.

also cancelling flights means people will need to rebook them. ever done that on a budget airline (or like wanted to change a name?) you pay the _current_ price for the ticket. Nice way of propping up some quarterly figures if they were looking lax I should think.

0
0

Re: MS?

> Not knowing what Tom was talking about, I checked to see if you needed something unusual to view their site. Having been there, I still don't know what Tom was talking about, but I have gained a headache.

Blimey that website's a tad on the loud side!

Seems to work fine in Linux, although I didn't try booking anything as a) I don't want to buy a flight b) I'm not sure I could prevent my eyes from bleeding.

They do seem to have the wrong attitude towards their customers though. One would have thought they would be pleased to get as much business as they could.

0
0
Paris Hilton

I wonder...

... how many of these tickets are being resold at full-whack rather than the el-cheapo 6months in advance fee, especially with it being holiday time and all.

But unfortunatly, people keep putting business their way, and its a shame, because I for one would like to see this scummy organisation going the way of Pan-Am, TWA and the like.

Paris, because she knows what its like to be taken for a ride...

0
0

I've pretty much given up flying anyway

but if I do have to fly again, Ryanair will be the very last on my list because of their abominable attitude to dealing with disabled passengers.

This is just another case of making sure they get the most out of their passengers who are likely to arrive at the airport with tickets they have no idea have been cancelled.

The passengers will be faced with the choice - book another flight (at a higher cost) or lose their entire holiday/business trip.

The technique goes along with all the other things Ryanair do to extract as much cash as they can from the unfortunates who fly with them.

0
0
Silver badge

bare sales aren't worth having

If your business model is making no money on the core product but making plenty on selling ancillary services you sure as hell don't want sales that bypass the sales pitch. That's exactly what the screen scrapers are doing and however sleazy you think Ryanair's business is they'd be idiots not to take action, it directly skews the sell through on their real business.

Customers I make no profit from are customers I can afford to ignore.

The real danger to the bottom feeding airlines is genuine price comparisons, unskewed by aggregator margins or vested interests. Those are the ones Ryanair aren't going for *yet*, they just hope they can push through restrictions that 'accidentally' outlaw them as well. Not surprising when the latest real price check I saw had British Airlines come out cheaper than every budget airline in every trip checked.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Discouraging competition.

Ryanair make their money through a bunch of shady practices that are rivalled only by Easyjet. Adding taxes and additional charges to the quoted price is one but overbooking flights and closing check in early is a particular favourite as well.

They also draw people to their site using loss leaders (those 1p flights) in the hope that they will mentally associate Ryanair with cheap flights and next time the user wants a flight they will go to the Ryanair site and book a flight (possibly at the normal rate). It's no secret that airlines use cookies to give tailored pricing to people based on their frequency visiting the site (and I have tested this with several major airlines by searching for the same flight from different machines and with my cookie history cleared) and this allows them to maximise their profits from customers who are 'hooked'.

By using price comparison sites it becomes almost impossible for them to offer loss leaders because people become brand agnostic and consistently choose the lowest price rather than maintaining brand loyalty. This practice overall will drive down the prices and make the airlines more competetive but will eventually comoditise flights so people compete only on price rather than a combination of price and service.

0
0
Paris Hilton

...because comparison is not flattering

Screen-scraping engines are extremely good when you need to travel on a budget and can't afford to spend ages trying every single combination yourself. I would still go on using them.

Anyway, only that I'd go to Ryanair's website to make the definitive booking.

Having that said, I can understand where they're coming from... On their website, you have to go through all the booking process to know how much you're actually going to pay with the never-ending and ever-growing list of taxes and charges (now the list also includes luggage charges and booking fees). On search engines you get the final price right away and it doesn't compare all that well with the rest of the competition anymore.

I try as much as possible to avoid Ryanair, I'm tired of all their tricks and are often more expensive than BA, for a much poorer service.

Paris and her private jet, because I'm worth it. ;)

0
0
Silver badge
Flame

Just what the fuck is their problem?

Surely aggregators are a net win for RyanAir? It's not as though they don't get paid the full price for the flights, or anything; and without them, they would be getting less business. So what exactly is RyanAir's problem?

The comparison with piracy is laughable. Piracy is dishonestly obtaining something that somebody was expecting you to pay for, without paying for it but without depriving them of anything either.

Whereas what these aggregators are doing is no different from an old-fashioned travel agent obtaining price lists and timetables from various airlines, bus and train companies, hotels, camp sites &c. and using this information to help customers plan their holidays.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Cheap and Nasty

The RyanAir website looks just like there service, Cheap and Nasty.

One reason that they don't want to you to us aggregators is because they could try to flog you credit cards, car insurance or gas/electricity. (Really check out the website). They probably get commision on the number of hits/jump offs they get to the other site, so don't want to lose this revenue stream.

Just for the record I checked the Site headers and it's Apache so I'm not sure where this MS only stuff comes from.

Mines the one with the Business Class tickets from a real Airline.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

@AC

What they mean was "not paying [Ryanair the] unnecessary handling charges"

@Tom: Personally I'd rather walk than use Ryanair - they spend more time selling you stuff than going through any safety procedures.

0
0
Go

Screen scraping

I am not a fan of Ryanair at all.

However for those questioning the business decision here, it is not complicated. The problem is not that third parties provide extra sales to Ryanair, but that they are expensive to service compared to direct bookings (because the look to book ratio is so high on comparison sites), and that they remove the oportunity to cross-sell (very important for a low-margin business such as air travel).

If you owned a major airline you would probably try and get rid of aggregators. Ryanair just have unsually brash approach, as with everything else.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Could this have anything to do with...

...the £16(!!!) handling fee Ryanair have introduced in the last couple of days? That little trick isn't available to them if you booked by a rival site. Loathsome company.

0
0
Black Helicopters

Open up for a LAWSUIT!!!

You entered into a contract when the money was taken.

You now want to break the contract.

Well, we all know how THAT works.

Sue the fucking arse off them, boys.

0
0
Alien

re: Those who complain about Ryanair

JESUS! You're arsehole must be GARGANTUAN!!!

No. Ryanair do NOT have the right to do this. They entered into a contract that bound them when they accepted payment.

What Ryanair DO have every right to do is to refuse payment and not sell the ticket.

Once sold, too late.

0
0
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: Why don't they just

As I recall, image spam used the same trick. All that happened was that OCR technology improved and became better able to pick out the juicy bits. Plus there's always the simple solution of a human agent visiting the site and typing the prices seen on screen into another program.

0
0
Coat

@Ryanair treat everyone like rubbish .. etc

Ryanair openly are proud of the money they make from "Coffin Flights" as they are brutally called.

I just don't fly with them.....period!

And in our company any expenses claim for a Ryanair ticket is refused - they are banned in our company :)

Mine's the Aer Lingus and Easyjet jacket

0
0
Stop

@Liuke

"Ryanair are a no frills airline and they don’t pretend to be anything else. You get what you pay for and with Ryanair you pay for everything; you could call it itemised billing. They have the right to offer a service at whatever price and on whatever terms they choose. We have the right to decline their offer."

At last, some bloody sense.

I love Ryanair. I fly with them often and can't fault them -- I get exactly what I pay for and they do exactly what it says on the tin.

-- Jon

0
0

Taking a MemeDump of that! -Pushing the Print_Mme_SysRq ....button

Heavy lode there, Brother, Where you bound?

Is the article really about RyanAir, or are other matters tied up in this S.T.ated text? Yes, probably, but look at the rest of the filling in the sandwich.

"Irish" (three mentions -do we need reminding about something?)

"screen-scrapers" (forget not that some smear screens, rather than scrape?)

"video or software pirates" (did that comparison come from a spin nurse?)

"Navitaire and Microsoft" (perhaps an advert? because RyanAir's site works fine with most browsers.)

"Ryanair claimed last week that Bravofly had stopped gathering information from its website in the aftermath of the filing of its suit. Bravofly said that this was not true, and that it has not suspended any activity as a result of the rulings." (That made me chuckle... Two men say they're Jesus; one of them must be wrong.)

"will continue to campaign across Europe for legislation to prohibit this unlawful screen-scraping and this breach of copyright laws" (legislation? Didn't, "Ryanair has said that it will no longer honour bookings made through aggregator sites." suggest they have everything nicely under control already? Torrents of new laws can't be the way forward, can they? Maybe fix some of the very serious Loopholes in the existing laws instead?

"aggregator" (five mentions. Was this word selected for it's memetic purpose on account of it sounding like alligator?)

Good, the bread is brown, what's to be served for pudding?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

RE: Discouraging competition.

Discouraging competition.

By Anonymous CowardPosted Wednesday 13th August 2008 15:09 GMT

(..)

(possibly at the normal rate). It's no secret that airlines use cookies to give tailored pricing to people based on their frequency visiting the site (and I have tested this with several major airlines by searching for the same flight from different machines and with my cookie history cleared) and this allows them to maximise their profits from customers who are 'hooked'.

(..)

personally I fly only Lufthansa / Star Alliance and I check internet

before calling travel agency - price in internet and price of agency

are always the same (if you call immediately, I have experienced

once a very favourable fare disappearing in less than one hour)

The price is however location dependet - if you buy return ticket

from country A to country B the ticket price may be different

according to your residence (while quite obviously the cost

to them is the same)

0
0
Alert

Should?!

“Travelsupermarket.com said that its search engine of prices passed customers on to the airlines' websites themselves and did not book tickets on behalf of customers, meaning that tickets should still be valid.”

I would only accept an assurance that states tickets bought will be valid, not hopefully, fingers-crossed valid. I think the simple answer is to ignore all results for Ryanair returned by any flight search or comparison service. In fact, ignoring Ryanair in their entirety might not be a bad thing.

0
0
Dan
Silver badge
Pirate

The real reason is their profits have fallen through the floor...

... because of fuel costs and seats found through aggregators or price comparison sites will naturally be the cheapest. So if you cancel a load of seats and re-sell them, you can charge more for them.

All that's needed is an excuse to cancel the cheap seats, and Ryanair found one. They never complained up until now, which coincidently is just after their latest set of results were published.

0
0
Flame

@trackSuit

We've already got aManFromMars, we don't need a cheap knock-off as well - at least he mostly makes sense, your post was mostly gibberish.

0
0

lost sales

Ryanair's website used to be great, it would work with any browser, didn't expect any godawfull plugins, was easy to navigate and the info was useful. They have been making major changes to it for about a year as far as I can tell and have been making it worse and worse with every step. Listen up ryanair:

You have lost 6 flights from me due to the changes you have made on your site.

Thats around half my flights in the past year. Look up and memorise this phrase:

K.I.S.S.

and bear it in mind every time the MS rep's and site developers are pouring sugar in your about 'great new features', because that easy to remember phrase is one of the biggest reasons for google's success.

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.