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 …

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  1. 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.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pot kettle black

    "not paying unnecessary handling charges"

  3. Steven Jones

    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.

  4. Luke Wells
    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

  5. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  6. Test Man
    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.

  7. Tim Brown
    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!

  8. 4a$$Monkey
    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.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    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?

  10. Robb Dunphy

    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.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    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!

  12. Richard
    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.

  13. Tim Spence

    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.

  14. Paul Donnelly
    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?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    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'

  17. Anonymous Coward
    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?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  20. Barry

    @ 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.

  21. Ben Mathews

    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.

  22. Lloyd

    Slow news day perchance?

    Wasn't this in the paper last week?

  23. John Robson Silver 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.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    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...

  25. druck Silver badge

    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.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    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!

  28. The Mighty Spang

    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.

  29. Humph

    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.

  30. Nick
    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...

  31. Andy Taylor

    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.

  32. Paul

    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.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  34. Jerome Cheynel
    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. ;)

  35. A J Stiles
    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.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  40. Mark
    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.

  41. Mark
    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.

  42. Charles 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.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    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

  44. Jonathan McCulloch
    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

  45. trackSuit

    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?

  46. Anonymous Coward
    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)

  47. Someone
    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.

  48. 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.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  50. Stan

    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.

  51. Mark
    Stop

    re: Screen scraping

    "and that they remove the oportunity to cross-sell (very important for a low-margin business such as air travel)"

    And why is it my fault that their business model depends on me doing something they want? Are they paying me to go to their site? No? So nuts to them.

    I'm certain that if Ryanair needed cheap labour, they'd go to some other country for it and hang it that, to be a viable country, we need employment here in the UK. And they'd get away with it too! Why? Because they are looking to make the most money. Well, I'm looking to spend the least money.

    The tension between the two needs is what a competitive (free) market is all about!

  52. Rob Briggs
    Flame

    RyanAir are just a bunch of wankers

    Left me stranded twice, missed a wedding at which I was to be an usher. It's not that delays or cancellations happen, it's their "Fuck you!" attitude that comes with it.

    Also a significant number of safety-related lapses in the last couple of years (missed and low approaches mainly, allegedly caused by poor cockpit resource management) - see Flight International for details of CAA and IAA reports.

    Would I fly with them again? Not in a month of Sundays and I positively evangelise to all I meet that they do not fly with them also.

    And Michael O'Leary is a tosser

  53. Padraig
    Thumb Down

    Too Bad Man

    We never use Ryanair because we don't like the attitude of its owner. Breach of contract and a major EU case seems obvious. In our law, they confirmed a contract from the moment they took the money (the ticket issue merely confirms the contract). We need the equivalent of a major US class action on this one.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    re: re: Those who complain about Ryanair

    They key point is that the end consumer does not have a contract with Ryanair: the aggregator does and they have breached the T&Cs. So you can go to the aggregator and ask them to fly you to wherever; Ryanair don't have to do anything for you.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Finally people are realizing that low-cost isn't low at all!

    There, Finally I can read others saying exactly what I have been telling everyone for the past 2 years: fly with everone but the low-costs. They aren't low cost at all. Unless you are really really fortunate and get a 1penny tickets (plus taxes) you are bound to pay just as much as any regular airline.

    And what you get for low cost? risk, risk, and risk. Plus you have to fight for a seat.

    Now, I may pay maybe £20 more for a regular airline, travel to a "normal" airport with "normal" services, get to choose the seat 24 hours before flying, thank you to web checkins, and the only thing I have to deal with is security at the airport.

    Drop the low -cost: they aren't worth it.

  56. heystoopid
    Joke

    Or

    Or could it be due to the high jet fuel prices our friends at "ryan seat of the pants" is about to do the usual "Continental Airlines" well known cut and run a chapter 11 when the cash flow runs low !

  57. William Wallace

    Re: Or

    They've got 2.4 billion euros cash in the bank. They carry almost twice the passengers that BA carries, they are capitalised at almost twice BA's value. They'll be around for quite some time yet.

    They are a flying bus service - and they do it well.

  58. Adrian Esdaile
    Thumb Down

    I wish we had something as good as Ryanair...

    All we have down here is Jetstar (Deathstar) and Qantas. Oh, and Qantas owns Jetstar.

    We could do with some compeition, quite frankly. Thanks to the monopoly, I can get a business trip to North QLD (2 hour flight) for TWICE the price of a flight to Osaka (10 hours, and nicer city). Now I don't think thats "fuel prices" the old chestnut they claim, as it clearly uses about 5 times the fuel to get to the other side of the frikkin planet.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Screenscraping the Screenscrapers

    For a recent complex trip involving 5 european flights and lots of flexibility, I screenscraped skyscanner into a spreadsheet, but to get realistic comparisons had to add about e20 to prices from RyanAir.

    I still ended up using them twice, without problem (of course, I booked direct on their own delightful website)

  60. fixit_f
    Happy

    I think they're within their rights here - and they're doing intelligent people a favour

    For example - a trip to Dublin from London Gatwick/Stansted is cheapest with Dan Dare. None of the old school established airlines can compete with their prices providing you carry your stuff as hand luggage and don't buy food or anything else while you're in the air. Read and interpret everything on their website as you book, and de-select all the things they try to flog you that you don't need. Same principle with Sleazyjet. During the flight you will be subjected to constant advertising by the cabin crew for "stuff" and their websites default all kinds of extras that you don't need at the point of booking. So what, leave your headphones in and if the ropey stewardesses try to bother you don't buy anything, Christ they even try to sell you their own brand of scratch cards. However, ignore/deselect all of this stuff on the webshite and you get amazingly cheap flights, it's not rocket science. It's an opportunity for smart people to fly for basically f**k all and if the chavs want to fall for their tricks, well, that's a tax on stupid chavs and is to be encouraged because they're paying for the rest of us, the silly anti-Darwinian chav people. On a short haul flight you get a good price, ok the webshite might leave you feeling a little dirty, but so what - you're an informed traveller booking cheap flights with no extras. Use your brain. Dan Dare, Sleazyjet and Air Fungus are all examples of ways that people (like informed register readers) can get easy flights on the back of profits paid by Jeremy Kyle viewers. Let the chavs give something back by subsidising cheap flights by paying for horrible inflight meals, inflated duty free products and airline-specific scratch cards . It's about time us normal 40% tax paying people had something back off them.

    That might have sounded a bit Daily Mail, can I assure everyone that I'm actually a Guardian reader. However my last Dan Dare flight was full of scum kicking the back of my seat and polluting the already thin air with their minimum wage humour, so I'm slightly jaded by the experience...... I'm not alone, surely?

  61. Steve

    Time for a lesson

    However legally right or otherwise Ryanair may be in this, O'Leary has really shot himself in the foot with this one. Once a few people get turned away at the airport, or kindly offered the chance to re-purchases their cheap tickets for £300 a throw, this is going to backfire. The punters won't blame the resellers, or themselves. As far as they're concerned it will be Ryanair who turned them away, and Ryanair whose fault it is, and that's what they'll tell their friends.

    There are many halfway-decent low-cost airlines like Easyjet. Ryanair isn't low-cost, it's cheap. O'Leary is about to learn the difference.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Fly with a proper airline

    I recently flew to Geneva on a proper airline, the total ticket cost £15 more than with Ryan air. For my £15 I got a smile, a check in que of 3 people, a 23Kg hold luggage allowance instead of 15Kg and 2 pieces of hand luggage. To top it off the plane we flew on had full leather seats and more than enough leg room for my 6ft tall wife.

    Worth every penny, a relaxing and comfortable flight, unlike my last experience with Ryan air.

    I don't dislike all cheap operators, easy jet are worth it when the flights are really cheap.

  63. David Chappell
    Happy

    common sense

    Why fly cheap when you can fly comfy.

  64. Saul Dobney

    Pluses and minuses

    Flown with everyone in the last three years (from BA to Thomsonfly) and things are becoming more difficult as the airlines become squeezed. Even BA is introducing maximum bag sizes for hold luggage from November.

    Things I like about low cost flyers.

    1. Normally, they are lower priced than the regulars and it's easier to arrange routes and fly into places near where you want to go and there are more departure options (eg Swiss were trying to charge me £1571 for a regular single from Zurich to Birmingham this summer - eh?!)

    2. They try to leave and arrive on time and don't wait for late passengers. BA is so useless - it's always late.

    3. You don't have to pay for stuff you don't want and you can always buy water/sandwiches on the ground first - BA only provide a drink and a small bag of snacks - hardly great service.

    4. You can change the ticket for a small fee without having to pay for the outrageously expensive flexible ticket that the majors sell - regular £60, flexible £320.

    5. You can avoid Heathrow - even with T5, still hate it. Still rubbish connections to anywhere but London and always late to leave.

    But they are getting much more pernickity. You really have to check the small print, especially on baggage now.

    * BMIbaby has a smaller check-in bag size and some European low cost have introduced a 6kg check-in bag maximum, presumably to increase the number of hold bags

    * Ryanair has a 15kg maximum hold bag size, BMI it is 20kg. No aggregating - which isn't very good for a family - and the policy is not evenly applied, you might travel out with a heavier bag OK, but then get charged on the return. And it's extremely expensive for heavier bags. (By the way BA will do this too from Nov)

    * Some airlines force you to go through check-in even where you have no bags

    * On board prices are extreme (Easyjet is cheapest but still expensive)

    * You have to unclick a lot of options they try to add - it's easy to miss that insurance option, particularly since it will probably be invalid if you already have other travel insurance.

    If they do cancel flights they have to pay and there's a penalty charge they must pay (up to £250 per person). It's EU law. Naturally this is not widely advertised by them.

  65. Tony

    Never want to fly RyanAir again

    I made the mistake of booking a flight with RyanAir about 9 months or so ago after 'a friend' persuaded me it was much cheaper than other carriers and I can honestly say that I never want to put myself through that again.

    Firstly.. Stanstead Airport.

    Apparently it's in London. What zone is that then? Zone 6000? It's in the arse-end of nowhere. On top of that it is without doubt the chavviest airport in the world. I have never seen so much fake-burberry print luggage in my life! Not to mention the entire thing is crammed with so many fruit machines that it feels like you are waiting for your flight in some God-awful arcade.

    So, having spent 6 hours waiting for a flight that was delayed for no specified reason surrounded by neanderthals drinking stella and trying to avoid suffering an epileptic fit from all the blinking lights on the fruities, I finally boarded the plane.

    It was dirty, it was cramped, it smelled bad and there was some thankfully-unidentifiable substance caked on the carpet. The cabin staff were rude and about as helpful as a Greek road sign. On top of this I had to spend my flight surrounded by screaming children and the aforementioned neanderthals who by this time had been drinking Stella for eight hours and had apparently checked their deodorant into the hold without thinking to actually put any on first. They tried to charge me a small fortune for a meal, which I politely declined, the smell of chav armpit having long since robbed me of any appetite - although to be fair even if I had been fasting for a month and they were paying me to eat it, I doubt I would have found RyanAir food an attractive proposition.

    When (with great relief) I arrived at my destination, it was at some backwater airport where the only other flight scheduled to arrive that day was a flock of geese. I then faced a two hour ride to get to where I actually wanted to go, crammed into a near-derelict bus with one of the drunken chavs snoring and dribbling on my shoulder.

    The entire experience was so thoroughly unpleasant it actually spoiled my entire trip, as all I could think about was having to go through it all again on the journey home.

    So, in summary.. Ryan Air WAS about £35 cheaper than flying with BA, but I would happily pay several times that amount to never have to endure their 'service' again. In addition, as a special thanks for recommending them, I signed my 'friend' up for a number of 'speciality' German websites.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I get exactly what I pay for and they do exactly what it says on the tin.

    Thing is, on the tin it says it's 99p, if you examine the tin closer you see tax, handling fees, charges for luggage, a warning notice about their blaring bloody adverts that you'll have to sit through for 2 hours.

    Admittedly some charges are avoidable, and that's a plus point, but not listing compulsory charges in the main price is deliberately misleading.

    And their planes stink.

    >What these aggregators are doing is no different from an old-fashioned travel agent

    Old-fashioned travel agents have agreements from the operators.

    >the end consumer does not have a contract with Ryanair

    That depends what was written on the booking, if the scraper has been dumb enough to put the company name down then you have a point.

    BTW Most airline tickets can be cancelled by the airline, many of them say you should reconfirm 72 hours in advance of travel.

    Mostly though, they're just dirty..

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Tom & MS

    To use online check-in you must print the check-in 'slip' with IE, it comes out blank on Firefox. Speaking from experience

  68. dave
    Thumb Down

    Ryanair want the Extra Money

    Ryanair are simply wanting the extra money provided by the other services they provide.

    Baggage

    Early/Speedy boarding

    Hotels Cars Etc.

    The funny thing is that they use WWTE worldwide travel exchange to provide their hotels. WWTE is owned by Expedia, therefore Expedia are providing this service.

    Most screenscrapers are only using the airlines site to get the prices, there bookings are then made directly on the airlines website, and the credit card payment is made to the airline.

    Given that some online agencys provide upto 100 seats sold a day for some of these so call low cost airlines I can't understand why they are complaining so much. At least the planes will fly full.

    I remember reading the easyjet vs Expedia issue a few months ago. The reported really didn't do any research and everything she said was in the whole not factually correct.

  69. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton

    @williamW

    @william irrespective of all that claimed cash in the bank first we have to deduct the provisional bad and doubtful debts , that which is owed to the staff /directors pensions funds , share dividend payments held over from previous year to mid or single end of year lump sum payment , lease and capital equipment payment funds , GST tax receipts due(one of the few taxes companies cannot avoid not paying) , aircraft maintenance costs pending(them planes they fly don't fix themselves) the total balance of other accounts payable and so forth along with other mundane payments required to fund corporations !

    All this data is buried in the annual stock holders filings and supposedly certified by accountants as being up to standard ? (well good old AA said much ado about nothing until the ever hollow shell of ENRON and their supposedly unsinkable Accountant Heavy Battle Cruiser "AA Ethics In My A@#$%" sank to the bottom of red ink sea in first and only one opening broadside from the FTC/SEC and in the US, the IRS has both KPMG and Ernst Who ?, singing like canaries in an iron cage thanks to their lack of ethics over questionable tax filing activities ! )

    Oh well such is life , the old accounting book has many pages to be read and digested so says the socialite !

  70. John Sturdy
    Stop

    re: Why don't they just

    If they do something like that, they'll probably make it impossible to use with screen readers (for the blind) -- although I expect most blind travellers are avoiding Ryanair already after a well-publicized incident of some being turned away. However, it could give someone a chance to bring a discrimination case.

  71. Dan White
    Thumb Down

    Not-so-budget fares

    A week or so ago there was an article on "The One Show" I think, where they costed up flights for a family of four with luggage across the "budget" and regular airlines.

    After factoring in the luggage fees, booking fees, handling charges etc etc from the budget lines (fees that were included in the regular airlines), it turned out that Easyjet and RyanAir were more expensive than BA for EVERY combination of flights they tried.

    As I understood it the budget airlines have already been ordered to include all fees up front in their listings, but they're dragging their heels for as long as possible because it's "technically difficult". Well boo fucking hoo.

    Yes you can get the occasional good deal, but unless it saves me about £100 I'd rather travel with an airline that doesn't ban staff from charging mobile phones to save money...

  72. Wize

    Meh

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

    Was for me. Booked one for me and the missus the other day. Flight was 30 quid for the two of us.

    Then all the fees kick in.

    You want a bag in the hold? Thats extra.

    You want to check in? Thats extra

    You want to pay by credit card (how else can you pay online?) Thats extra.

    To name but a few. I'm surprised they didn't charge more for a life jacket under the seat or wings on the plane.

    Then a handling fee. What for? For handling all the money you are making off me? Not like its an optional extra, so really part of the original cost of the flight.

    And their bag sizes are smaller than everyone else, so you are more likely to breach the limit and therefore pay more.

    At least Dick Turpin wore a mask so you could tell when you were being robbed.

  73. Tom Silver badge

    Re Firefox

    last time I went to the Ryanair site it told me I needed IE7 to book.

  74. trackSuit
    Thumb Up

    Progressive Talk.

    Yes we have AC,13th August 2008 18:23 GMT.

    How dDelightful to hear you can mostly understand amfM. Will you be sure to say how you do IT, when other ACs are struggling with parsing?

    I'm glad we can Share Agreement that GBirish is not so hard to understand when IT is done Right.

    Here's to the Reg for their NeuReal Tolerance and Alias-Named Torrents of Tolerants.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    You get what you pay for. I would rather fly Ryanair than most airlines in europe.

    I used to be a terrible snob about airlines and have a large pile of frequent flyer points with the oneworld airline based in my home country to show for it (mostly earned on that once apparently decent airline, BA).

    Last year, my girlfriend decided that she wanted to live in Rome. I wanted to see her at least once a month and flying out there and back on BA, Lufthansa, AF/KLM or that airborne disaster called Alitalia (they're still flying 727s, FFS) was far too expensive. I therefore started flying easyjet from gatwick, which was also the most convenient airport.

    As the weather started to warm up, even easyjet started feeling expensive, so i held my nose, gritted my teeth and started taking the Stansted "Express" (Express in name alone) out to the wilds of Essex to catch the airline that is the subject of this article.

    After a couple of these trips, I was well attuned to the joys of priority boarding (though at Ciampino airport in Rome all that gets you is first onto the bus) and understood the system well enough to get myself into an aisle seat in the 2nd or 3rd row, everytime, nearly always with an empty seat next to me.

    Contrast that with the last time I flew BA, back from Stockholm early in the new year. Despite my girlfriend and my tickets being booked together, we ended up in middle seats, three rows apart. I wasn't enjoying my Ruby Oneworld status on that flight, that's for sure.

    I wouldn't check baggage for any trip less than two weeks, on any airline, so that's not a problem. I also became quickly appreciative of the vastly superior terminal that is stansted, especially compared with the minge pit that is gatwick south terminal. God forbid that I should ever have to travel through Heathrow again...

    I also gradually became grudgingly appreciative of ryanair's no nonsense attitude. Most people interpret this as nastiness, which in reality of course it is, but whether that's a problem or not depends on your expectations. I expect Ryanair to treat me like an item of livestock to be moved from point A to point B and have a thing called an MP3 player that allows me to avoid all of their 2-4-1 spirit promotions, phone cards, scratch tickets, timeshares, mail order brides and whatever else they've dreamed up to sell on board.

    Easyjet, by contrast, tries very hard to be nice and it just doesn't work. If you're going to treat me like livestock, I'd prefer to not also have to put up with fake smiles and pretend customer service.

    Michael O'Leary is clearly a lunatic but his airline moves a lot of people around europe at affordable prices (well until the price of oil hit the roof, anyway). If he doesn't want third party companies to sell his products, that's his call to make.

  76. Jonathan McCulloch
    Stop

    @Wize

    "At least Dick Turpin wore a mask so you could tell when you were being robbed."

    You're not being robbed. If you book and fly with them, you do so consensually. If you don't, can't or won't read the website, then whose fault is it? At the point you put in your credit-card details, the final amounts are clearly shown.

    Rather than pissing and moaning about it, don't fucking fly with them. Same goes for all of you.

    The market decides.

    -- Jon

    P.S. I've booked using FireFox every single time I've used them (and printed out my boarding card).

  77. Joe Desbonnet
    Jobs Horns

    Ryanair.com does *NOT* work properly with Firefox

    Just to follow up on some comments here re Ryanair.com and Firefox: No actually it doesn't work. Yes, you can book tickets etc, but you can't print your boarding pass. With Firefox 3 on Linux anyway (just kills FF -- no idea why). And seeing that Microsoft have been scurrying around on their web site one wonders if it's a bug or feature.

    What's worse: there is absolutely no way to report the bug, except to call a sex line number. Now I can image how that slowly that conversation will go.

    Having said that I love Ryanair. Even if you dislike traveling with them they have put a huge downward pressure on air ticket costs. And Micheal O'Leary is always good for a laugh even if he's full of $h1t most of the time :-)

  78. Jason
    Boffin

    Easy retaliation

    Remember - the problem Rynair has is with the booking of tickets through other websites. No one can really stop other websites delivering search results including Rynairs prices and then refering the customer to the actual Rynair site for purchase. (Think kayak.com). So .... this opens the door to mischief. For instance an aggregator can simply put whatever price they want for the Rynair flight and steer their customers via price comparison to other, more friendly airlines.

    The real problem here for Ryaniar is comparison elimination, not booking per se.

  79. paul fox

    contract

    I think the contract is only valid with scheduled flights, RyanAir is charter. I've rarely felt the need to use a budget carrier. The market will sort itself out.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Evil but right

    Michael O'Leary was on Newsnight a couple of nights ago. He really is an odious little man, but he's right about one thing.

    For all the complaints made about Ryanair in the press, Ryanair's sales are at worst level if not increasing, despite his company's Spanish (or should that be Irish) practices.

    Truth is, although commentators (including people on here) are disgusted by Ryanair's practices, thier numerous hidden charges, thier willingness to leave cripples on the tarmac rather than help them onto planes, and now the cancellation of legally bought tickets, people still use them.

    There's no point having high morals if you're unwilling to live by them. If most people were disgusted enough with Ryanair they'd pass on the £15 airfares and pay to go with a more ethical airline. Frankly I'm amazed that anyone with a disability even thinks about booking with them (although that of course is what O'Leary would prefer as the crips just take up space on his planes and cost him money)

  81. A J Stiles

    Re: "Old-fashioned travel agents have agreements from the operators"

    ..... and were glad of them.

    If you're on the dole, you can have your payments cut for refusing an offer of work.

    Ryanair should be pleased that people are sending business their way. I hope they lose.

    AC, "Evil but right" -- you've hit the nail on the head. People used to stick together and did this thing where if you were cut, your neighbour would bleed. (Remember the Miners' Strike, or the Poll Tax?) Nowadays ..... they don't. Something changed.

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