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Ryanair cancels tickets

[August 11th 2008]

Ryanair is cancelling tickets booked through price comparison screenscraping sites from today, raising the possibility that thousands of passengers could be stranded at airports.

Ryanair spokesman Howard Millar explained that from today the low cost airline would “introduce new procedures to cancel all passenger bookings made through screenscraping websites. We believe this is a quicker and more effective way of discouraging this unlawful activity and we hope that by getting rid of screenscrapers we will speed up passenger processing times on, as well as ensuring that Ryanair passengers are not paying unnecessary handling charges or higher fares to screenscrapers”.

It remains to be seen whether Ryanair will actually turn passengers away at the airport, or whether the announcement is intended to deter travellers from making bookings through screenscrapers. Refusing to let passengers board could cause chaos at airports and damage Ryanair’s reputation.

Passengers who booked through price comparison screenscraping websites are advised to contact the website concerned to find out if their ticket has been cancelled and to sort out a refund.

Many price comparison websites direct travellers to the Ryanair website to make bookings and any bookings made in this way will not be affected.

Last week Ryanair succeeded in getting one website, Irish based BravoFly, to stop screenscraping the website. The budget airline was also successful in getting an injunction against V-tours to stop it screenscraping its website in Germany.

Ryanair maintains that screenscrapers are in breach of its copyright rules and terms of use. It also claims they levy “unjustified and unnecessary handling charges (in some cases up to double the Ryanair fare)” and don’t provide passengers with Ryanair’s terms and conditions or up to date flight information.

“We are determined to eliminate these illegal practices, particularly in cases where passengers are being misled by screenscrapers into paying higher fares, unjustified handling fees and hotel and car hire charges that are higher than they otherwise would be on,” says Millar.

Written by: Nick Purdom