- Ryanair has won court rulings against online travel agency Kiwi, allowing the airline to retain its enhanced security check-in procedures for passengers who book through OTAs.
- Ryanair charges an additional fee for verifying passenger identity and ensuring protocol notification when booking through an OTA.
- Ryanair is aggressively fighting against screenscrapers and practices like skiplagging that threaten its business model, while European courts are generally more lenient towards these practices.
Ryanair, the prolific European low-cost carrier, won in Spain’s Commercial Court of Madrid against online travel agency Kiwi. For Ryanair, the court victory ensures the airline can retain enhanced security check-in procedures for passengers using online travel agents.
Reselling of airline tickets upsets Ryanair.
To Ryanair, having an online travel agency like Kiwi do the booking means that the carrier has to verify the passenger’s identity and ensure notification of proper protocols. Ryanair then, as per its business model, charges an additional fee for having to do this.
As such, Dara Brady, Director of Marketing & Digital for Ryanair, issued the following comment.
“We welcome this Court ruling, which ensures that passengers who have booked via OTAs can continue to use our enhanced-security check-in procedures to check in personally with Ryanair and are notified of important safety, security, and public health protocols and to correct passenger contact details. Ryanair does not have a commercial relationship with Kiwi, and we strongly object to Kiwi selling our flights.”
Brady then encouraged passengers to book directly with Ryanair for the lowest fares and best service.
Photo: Milosz Maslanka/Shutterstock
Ryanair also won litigation in the Civil Court of Milan against Kiwi on August 17. Ryanair issued a statement very similar to the above.
Not the first litigation between Ryanair and “screenscrapers”
The court rulings against Kiki in favor of Ryanair are not the first judicial proceedings regarding Ryanair’s policies towards third-party “screenscraper” sites and special security checks. For instance, in May 2022, Ryanair prevailed against Lastminute.fr. Brady, at the time, said in part,
Ryanair’s direct-to-customers distribution model provides our customers with the best choice, care, and lowest fares while allowing us to ensure that flight safety, security, and public health protocols are complied with. … We will continue our campaign against screenscrapers, many of whose business models depend on mis-selling Ryanair fares at inflated prices (or with hidden markups) to unsuspecting consumers.
Hence the aggressiveness of Ryanair, as it claims,
“We connect over 240 destinations in over 40 countries and offer the lowest fares in Europe.”
That isn’t easy when there’s upselling of Ryanair fares. The airline is clearly concerned about its brand.
However, Kiwi.com claims, as per the YouTube below, to promote skiplagging – or the practice of booking a multi-leg flight and not flying each leg.
This poses a problem for Ryanair’s business model. Many airlines are acting against skiplaggers. However, European courts are more lenient towards the practice.
Furthermore, earlier this year, the airline lost a nearly 15-year-long legal battle with lastminute.com and BravoNext, in which Swiss courts ruled that lastminute.com and BravoNext could continue to sell Ryanair tickets in Switzerland. Lastminute.com hailed the decision as a significant milestone; however, the Irish low-cost carrier dismissed the ruling as having no significant impact on its operations.
Privacy group NOYB is also litigating.
In late July, the European privacy group None of Your Business (NOYB) filed suit against Ryanair’s additional screening of those using OTAs. NOYB was unhappy that passengers must verify through facial recognition or confirm their identity at the Ryanair airport check-in counter at least two hours before departure. The litigation is continuing.
Ryanair is engaging in litigation and other measures to protect its business model. As the operator shared with Simple Flying in late July about the NOYB litigation,
“Ryanair has no commercial relationship with any OTA nor are they authorised to sell our flights. OTAs scrape Ryanair’s inventory and, in many cases, miss-sell our flights and ancillary services. As a result, and in order to protect customers, any customers who book through an OTA are required to complete a simple customer verification process.”
One should exercise great caution when booking a flight through a third-party website or skiplagging. Airlines have limited grace towards such things to protect their brand.
Do you use Online Travel Agents? Did the airline honor the tickets? Please share with civility in the comments.
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Low-Cost Carrier
- Dublin Airport, London Stansted Airport, Milan Bergamo Airport
- Year Founded:
- Airline Group:
- Ryanair Group
- Eddie Wilson