European low-cost carrier Ryanair will begin canceling bookings made on third-party price-comparison sites it says are illegal. These cancelations will begin for bookings made August 11 and beyond, and will likely account a thousand bookings per day. According to Ryanair, these “screenscraping” sites overcharge for Ryanair tickets and add unnecessary handling charges.
The third-party websites in question—mostly European comparison sites like Bravofly and VTours (in German), among others—scan airline sites and match airline’s prices with their own. This allows the third-party site to match the airline itself, while never directing the customer to the airline’s site. However, Ryanair claims the scanning, or “scraping,” slows down its site, which hurts bookings made there.
Whatever the situation is with these price-comparison sites, it’s Ryanair’s customers who will bear the brunt of its wrath. The BBC reports passengers will be “compensated” if their flight is canceled, but as Ryanair often lacks contact info for third-party bookings, many will run the risk of showing up at the airport not knowing their ticket is invalid.
Ryanair is betting the resulting chaos will be severe enough to deter third-party sites from messing with the carrier in the future. But is inflicting pain and inconvenience on its customer base the best way to deal with this?
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