Ryanair today released its January Online Travel Agent (OTA) Pirate survey, revealing concerning price discrepancies between its website and several third-party booking platforms.

The carrier has released information, saying eDreams leads the pack in terms of overcharging, marking up reserved seats by a staggering 125% compared to Ryanair’s direct price of €12.

Opodo follows closely behind with a 108% markup on 10kg baggage fees, charging €38.31 for a service available on Ryanair.com for €18.79.

On the Beach also features on the “disreputable OTA” list, imposing a 63% premium on 20kg baggage, charging £34.99 compared to Ryanair’s £21.49.

Perhaps the most egregious practice alleged by the airline is On the Beach’s introduction of a €30 “extra requests” fee for a non-existent service.

Source: Ryanair statement
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This deceptive tactic highlights the potential for predatory nature of some OTA practices.

calflier001, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ryanair Call for Consumer Protection

Ryanair reiterates its call for consumer protection against such predatory overcharging and mis-selling, urging UK and Irish governments and EU consumer agencies to address this growing issue.

The airline asserts that scraping data from their website to inflate prices constitutes digital piracy and blatant anti-consumer behavior.

“We remain committed to exposing these scams and fighting for consumers,” asserts Dara Brady, Ryanair’s Chief Marketing Officer.

“Our January survey clearly demonstrates the deceptive tactics employed by some OTAs, with eDreams leading the charge with a 125% markup on a basic service.”

“This highlights the need for regulatory intervention to curb these unethical practices and safeguard traveler interests.”

What is ‘data scraping’?

In the context of Ryanair’s allegations, data scraping refers to the practice of an Online Travel Agent (OTA) automatically extracting data from the airline’s website without authorization.

This typically involves using software tools to “crawl” the website and collect information such as pricing, product descriptions, and available options.

The extracted data can then be used by the OTA to set their own prices for Ryanair flights and ancillary services, which can be significantly higher than those found on the official Ryanair website.

Ryanair considers this practice to be unfair and harmful to consumers, as it can lead to misleading pricing and hidden fees.

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