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Airline Cancels All Flights Booked Through Third-Party Systems

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the funny-if-it-weren't-so-stupid dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 410

TechDirt is reporting that one airline is planning on canceling all flights booked through third-party systems. This isn't the first time that an airline has fought against the inevitable wave of easier-to-search third party websites, but certainly tops the stupid scale. "We were already confused enough by American Airlines' desire not to be listed on the sites where people search for airfare, and easyJet's plan to sue the sites that send it customers, but Irish-based airline Ryanair is taking this all to a new level. Beyond just being upset about those 3rd party sites (i.e., sites that send it business!), it's planning to cancel the flights for everyone who booked through one of those services."

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First Post (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24532719)

Ireland FTW

Re: Porst Fist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24532837)

NeCrOtIc DoG pEnIs FTW

Fix'd! :-D

Interesting... (5, Funny)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532749)

I didn't know that the airlines had hired away the managers of the major record labels. Did you guys hear about that?

Re:Interesting... (5, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532829)

Ryanair, ryAnAIR, RIAnAyr, RIAA.

Who the hell is "Nyr"?

Re:Interesting... (4, Funny)

crywolf (445243) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533037)

"Nyr" is a sound of needing some antacid, badly. Often heard from music executives who have just gotten their asses handed to them in court.

Re:Interesting... (1)

sadgoblin (1269500) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533191)

Its their evil plan so servers wont be able to move to other countries. I guess **AA will be quite surprised when they find out...

Re:Interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24533237)

You're right. And here I thought they were taking notes from Visa.

Re:Interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24533245)

Dear Airlines:

You suck at teh internets. /Noobie

Well, if that's the way they want it (4, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532787)

Well, if that's the way they want it, it's their airline. I don't have to fly it...

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24532813)

Well, if that's the way they want it, it's their airline. I don't have to fly it...

From what I've heard of Ryanair, you wouldn't want to fly it anyway.

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (4, Funny)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532947)

Of course you'd want to fly Ryanair! And during today's flight, we'd like to tell you about a great offer that we're running with our trusted partners, ScrewYouOutOfYourMoney.com...

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (2, Funny)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533431)

Actually if you wanted to have plenty of legroom then today is your day.

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (1)

CDMA_Demo (841347) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532961)

is it related to Falcon Airlines in anyway?

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (4, Funny)

mcvos (645701) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533447)

From what I've heard of Ryanair, you wouldn't want to fly it anyway.

Not even when they offer Beds & Blowjobs [ryanair.com] ?

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24532815)

What if all airlines take up a similar policy? What are you going to do then, hm?

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (4, Funny)

The Snowman (116231) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532865)

What if all airlines take up a similar policy? What are you going to do then, hm?

Stay home.

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (5, Insightful)

dunnius (1298159) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533187)

What if all airlines take up a similar policy? What are you going to do then, hm?

Stay home.

I'll drive. Wait, that's what I already do. Screw the airlines and especially the TSA.

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (3, Insightful)

Simon (S2) (600188) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532887)

Buy the tickets from their website directly?

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (4, Informative)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533271)

That is what the airlines would like. Services like expedia.ca make it easy to search many airlines from one form. This means that customers can more easily find the best sale and the airlines have to compete harder to offer cheaper tickets. Not a bad thing for a customer, but from the company perspective, these sites are forcing their prices/profits down.

I don't know how they plan on winnning that battle by turning away paying customers (Maybe they have enough time to fill the seats with normal customers). Anyway, no one had played devil's advocate yet, so here it is.

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (4, Insightful)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533361)

Yeah, competition can be real bad for companies. But ignoring it is even worse. These guys will crash and burn if they persist in this.

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (4, Insightful)

chelaaku (1341357) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533441)

True, you cannot put the information freely on the net for people to peruse, and then complain when consumers use it to gain a better knowledge of the market than they would like. Profound misunderstanding of the nature of information once it is put on the internet, methinks...

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (1)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532889)

Trust me, no airline wants to be like Ryanair in any way.

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24532969)

What if all airlines take up a similar policy? What are you going to do then, hm?

In the United States, we would revoke their access to taxpayer funded airports. Try to fly the planes with nowhere to land, jerks.

Ha ha... just kidding. We'd give them a hundred billion dollar bailout.

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (2, Funny)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533111)

What if all airlines take up a similar policy? What are you going to do then, hm?

Use videoconferencing.

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (1)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533275)

In some rare cases, that's not an option. I have to fly at least twice a year, and each time it makes me miserable. When I go on my honeymoon to BC (I'm east coast), I'm going to have to fly *again*.

Fun, it is not.

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (3, Funny)

cleatsupkeep (1132585) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533407)

It's ok, I'll take your wife to be.

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (4, Informative)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533475)

When I go on my honeymoon to BC (I'm east coast), I'm going to have to fly *again*.
 
The trans-Canada Rocky Mountain tours [canadaviarail.com] are very romantic.

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (3, Insightful)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532901)

Ever thought what would happen if EVERYONE had that attitude about stupidity? Free Markets might spring up and people would get things done cheaper! Oh the Humanity!

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (1, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532995)

Ever thought what would happen if EVERYONE had that attitude about stupidity?

Guess I'd have to visit 2 or 3 Web sites of the actual airlines rather than 2 or 3 aggregaters like Orbitz and Tavelocity or whatever. What's the difference?

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24533133)


I think I'm going to fly from Canada to Ireland, visit a Ryanair ticket booth then tell the agent off. I'll be chuckling all the way back across the Atlantic at how I told them a thing or two and didn't spend a penny at their airline!

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (3, Informative)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533205)

Ryanair employees are used to customers screaming at them over unfair business practises, I don't think they'd mind

Re:Well, if that's the way they want it (2, Insightful)

barrkel (806779) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533233)

Ryanair works because they usually have the lowest fare, often by quite a large percentage (60% to 5% (seriously) or lower (!) of next competing bid).

That's their whole strategy. Customer service is not even considered, much less a priority.

One way or the other, it's asking for trouble (5, Interesting)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532789)

The way I see it, they have two choices. First, they can simply refuse to honor tickets bought through third-party sites. If so, they're asking for a great big class action suit by all the people who's money they accepted. Second, they can refund the money and simply refuse to do business through these sites. If that's the way they go (most likely) they're just asking for a revolt by the people who own their stock (and through that, of course, the business itself) for chasing away customers. I predict either a rapid backpedal on this or a change of manglement in short order.

Re:One way or the other, it's asking for trouble (5, Insightful)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532923)

True, this won't go well for them. And with fuel prices as they are, the airlines really don't need to be pointing guns at their own feet and telling Legal to pull the trigger. This move is nonsensical.

Air travel is an industry where the pricing simply makes no sense. The person sitting next to you on a flight may have paid $500 more or less than you did, for no reason. The newfound ability to use aggregator sites to compare prices was the one thing that made it bearable to book flights. Airlines should accept that the market answered their customers' demands without their help.

Re:One way or the other, it's asking for trouble (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24533343)

You're right about pricing not making sense. A colleague of mine recently booked a flight from southern Alabama to Austria.

The company booked him through Pensacola to Atlanta to Austria. He'd have preferred to drive to Atlanta and just skip the Pensacola to Atlanta leg, but that would have cost $500 more.

How does that make sense, to pay more for fewer flights?

Re:One way or the other, it's asking for trouble (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24533459)

can't remember who it was, but I saw a delightful story about someone who wanted to fly something like heathrow -> JFK and the most convenient time-wise was a flight that was starting somewhere in Germany, stopping at Heathrow to pick up extra passengers, then flying on over the Atlantic. They discovered that they could actually save several hundred pounds overall by flying from Heathorw to Germany, then catching the flight from the start, stopping off back in Heathrow on the way.

Crazy.

Re:One way or the other, it's asking for trouble (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24533369)

Nonsenical? Thats the Irish way. After all, why did the Arabs get the oil and the Irish get the potatoes? The Irish had first choice.

Re:One way or the other, it's asking for trouble (4, Interesting)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532941)

And being a reasonable human being, you only saw those two options. However, these dips are taking the third unmentioned option.

They are refunding the WEBSITES directly and making it their problem to get the money back to the customer who bought the ticket. The stated goal of "We want to cause as much chaos for the [websites] as possible,"

Unless this is the only airline servicing an area, I say it's time for them to suddenly find out how quickly their bottom line would drop if they just suddenly disappeared from said sites.

Re:One way or the other, it's asking for trouble (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533109)

They are refunding the WEBSITES directly and making it their problem to get the money back to the customer who bought the ticket.

Actually, it didn't occur to me that the websites would charge the customer and pass it on to the airline. And, of course, the extra costs of returning the money to the customers means that the websites are losing money because the airline won't honor the sales.

Re:One way or the other, it's asking for trouble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24533223)

Maybe they've already done that?

Re:One way or the other, it's asking for trouble (1)

MrMarket (983874) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533363)

Unless this is the only airline servicing an area, I say it's time for them to suddenly find out how quickly their bottom line would drop if they just suddenly disappeared from said sites.

Their bottom line is already negative. This will give them fewer (but profitable) flights, because they will not have to compete with loss-leaders from competitors (don't match their price, no results in the search window). They do not want to be forced to take a loss every time a competitor drops their price below profitability. Making passengers deal with them directly lets them capitalize on their reputation as always being the cheapest, while creating barriers for direct price comparisons.

Re:One way or the other, it's asking for trouble (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532983)

We don't have class action lawsuits over here. Ryanair would, however, potentially wind up the victims of an OFT investigation if they did anything on this scale that wasn't 110% above board. Ask the banks how that's working out for them right now, and you'll see what it could do to small fry like Ryanair.

In any case, this sounds so unutterably stupid that either there's been a fundamental misunderstanding and all these comments are misreporting the situation, or you've got to question whether O'Leary has much of a future there...

Re:One way or the other, it's asking for trouble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24533303)

> wasn't 110% above board

You mean 100%, right?

"That's impossible. No one can give more than 100%. By definition, that is the most anyone can give."

Re:One way or the other, it's asking for trouble (1)

barrkel (806779) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533307)

Ryanair aren't that small any more - their market cap is 65% or so of Bank of Ireland, and turnover is comparable too.

Re:One way or the other, it's asking for trouble (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533031)

How on earth do people fly using only one airline. I'm sure if I lived in New York, and wanted to go to LA, that would be fine, but there is no flight from my area, to a few of the places I travel to, that is serviced by the same airline.

Re:One way or the other, it's asking for trouble (1)

domanova (729385) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533449)

It is stupid, but to be fair they are complaining about screen-scraper sites. They have no contact or contract with these sites and say that extra fees are imposed; and it's a small percentage of their business. But it's still pretty stupid. The guy who runs it (O'Leary) is consistently stupid, and successful, and sells loads of people cheap flights. Go figure.
Another recent idiocy is to push cheap tickets (£5 - less than taxes) because he needs his aircraft to be 80% full. Difficult because of the current heavy fuel costs. But he reckons that'll screw his competitors in the same space, and when times get easier he'll still be standing.
I'd rather not fly Ryanair, but when needs must...O'Leary will piss off loads of people, but I'd put money in his company. If I had any

Are they aware (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532793)

that they are getting on the 'dont use' list for throngs of people worldwide ?

STUPIIIIIDDDDDDD. way stupid.

perfect business (4, Informative)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532801)

We'd have ourselves a perfect business system if it wasn't for those pesky customers messing things up.

hmmm... let's see... "ryanair"... scratched off. (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532803)

yep, they don't want business, they don't get business.

Irish eyes are smiling.... (5, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532805)

no doubt when they sober up, they will regret this.

Re:Irish eyes are smiling.... (5, Funny)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533331)

Being Irish I resent that remark.

We never sober up.

Marketing gone wild ? (4, Insightful)

daveime (1253762) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532833)

I can't work out why they'd want to block 3rd party bookings now, especially as they've recently been told they actually have to publish the REAL TOTAL price of the airfare on the first page instead of that whole "99 pence" crap (with 99 pounds in taxes and airport surcharges added on the final bill).

You'd think they'd need all the help they could get. Still, they are Irish ... (dons his flameproof underwear ready for the inevitable politically correct flamers).

Re:Marketing gone wild ? (4, Informative)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533067)

You'd think they'd need all the help they could get. Still, they are Irish ... (dons his flameproof underwear ready for the inevitable politically correct flamers).

That's probably true, but it won't be us (the Irish) modding you down, we'll all be drunkenly laughing at your comments, blame the racist mods who think the Irish can't take a joke.

I am with Ryanair on this (4, Interesting)

Simon (S2) (600188) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532845)

"The real issue here in our view is that Ryanair is concerned about losing out on the sale of other services such as travel insurance, hotels, car hire and to stop this they want to prevent consumers from using comparison websites"
I think they have a point. Maybe not a good one, but who are we to decide for them? They want customers to buy Ryanair Tickets from the Ryanair Website, and it's their right to "enforce" this IMHO. Cancelling the bookings may piss of some users, but it makes their point.
I think this is a bit like direct linking an image from a website, when the creator explicitly asked not to do it.
And on top of it lastminute.com, v-tours, tui and Opodo usually charge more for the Tickets than what they would normally cost: "Mr O'Leary also stressed that passengers were "getting stiffed" by these websites as their prices were invariably higher than those available on ryanair.com".

Re:I am with Ryanair on this (4, Interesting)

Ambiguous Puzuma (1134017) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532917)

Deciding to no longer allow ticket sales through third parties is one thing (though I would still argue it is a bad move). But how can they get away with not honoring tickets already sold?

Re:I am with Ryanair on this (1)

Simon (S2) (600188) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533023)

I agree with you that not allowing sales through third parties would be a bad move, but who knows, maybe they have a good reason we don't know about.

But how can they get away with not honoring tickets already sold?

I am sure they have something in their Terms of use that says they are entitled to rescind the contract ... blablablayaddayadd.
They also say that those third parties where "scraping [the ryanair portal] activity is unlawful and in breach of both Ryanair.com's copyright and terms of use," so they ryanair may be a pissi company, but those "third parties" screen scraping their website are not really better anyway. IMHO

Re:I am with Ryanair on this (2, Interesting)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533315)

But how can they get away with not honoring tickets already sold?

Probably because the third parties in question didn't have authorization to sell them. If they had to scrape the site, I'm guessing they didn't have permission.

Re:I am with Ryanair on this (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533047)

Cancelling the bookings may piss of some users, but it makes their point.

Not accepting new bookings is entirely up to them, of course.

However, cancelling existing bookings that have already been agreed is unethical. I can't see how it's not illegal on several counts, too: if money has changed hands, then a contract exists, and I wouldn't want to rely on any weasel words saying "we can arbitrarily cancel our side of the bargain without notice" holding up when disgruntled ex-customers start bringing legal actions to recover the cost of wasted hotel reservations, onward flights and the like. Even if the customers go after the third party booking sites that they personally have contracts with, those sites in turn are presumably going to hit Ryanair to recover the damages.

Re:I am with Ryanair on this (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24533069)

But if, like me, your credit card is an Egg Card you can't book directly on the Ryanair website. Egg are not accepting transactions from Ryanair because Ryanair's security is so bad.

Not that it really matters. By the time you've paid all their hidden charges (e.g. for checking in!) Ryanair aren't much cheaper than anyone else and their service is truly abysmal. I won't be flying with them again.

Re:I am with Ryanair on this (3, Insightful)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533071)

they're in the business of flying airplanes. Where I get the rest of my services is up to me.

Also, if they'd just do a cost+30 model or something like that where all seats cost the same (instead of selling some for up to 50% more or less on the same flight, same service) then sites like these wouldn't be given such a huge hole to step in to.

The airlines create these situations themselves.

Re:I am with Ryanair on this (1)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533155)

they're in the business of flying airplanes. Where I get the rest of my services is up to me.

Believe me, trusting Ryanair to successfully fly an airplane is about as stupid as expecting to be allowed bring a suitcase without paying hidden charges.

Re:I am with Ryanair on this (4, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533137)

"The real issue here in our view is that Ryanair is concerned about losing out on the sale of other services such as travel insurance, hotels, car hire and to stop this they want to prevent consumers from using comparison websites"

That was NOT Ryanair's position. That was an opinion by the Consumer's Association. Other than that I can understand your position of supporting them.

The real issue here is that ALL the other websites offer prices higher than Ryanair's own website. In a very real sense, Ryanair is protecting all of it's potential customers from being ripped off. Some may say that on the other hand it affects legitimate travel agents from servicing their clients. That is not true either, since a travel agent could book directly with Ryanair.

Another serious problem is that the other websites are using a shady process called screen scraping to use Ryanair's own website to book the flights. It abuses the companies webservers and bandwidth which could be a pretty good reason to stop the websites as well.

Now they may be within their rights to do this, but it is still not very smart. Ryanair cannot protect all the idiots of the world. If those people are determined to not use common sense and check Ryanair's website beforehand for a price comparison, then maybe they deserve what they get.

So Ryanair finally pulled out the WMD on all the websites, but in doing so it may have ultimately harmed itself more than it expected.

Re:I am with Ryanair on this (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533333)

Travel agents don't charge you more than going directly to the airline. If they did, nobody in their right mind would use them. They make a profit on the transaction because the airline charges them 15% less because the agency's do so much business with them in the long run and because if they didn't the agencies wouldn't handle their business. (it's the same, BTW, as it is with advertising agencies; the newspapers, magazines, TV stations and so-on give them a discount because of the volume, and that's how they stay in business.)

Re:I am with Ryanair on this (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533495)

Travel Agents do charge you more. They have to do so. It's not a lot, but still a service charge of some kind. The value of travel agencies in the past was that you did not have to go to the airport or call any of the airlines to do the research yourself. Probably saved you at least an hour on the phone or more and a lot of gas. Not to mention the cost of your time. Not to mention, car rentals, hotels, etc.

So the travel agencies have to be making less money than they did before Internet and websites popped up. Still I would expect that they make a little something more than just the 15% you mention. In any case, my point was that a traditional travel agency most likely deals directly with the airlines.

Dinosaurs continue to resist change (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532853)

If comparison shopping is a threat to your business model, perhaps you have a flawed business model?

Nah... let's keep the old business model and attempt to prevent people from comparison shopping in order to prop up the old business model instead!

Re:Dinosaurs continue to resist change (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533173)

It is a flawed business model, they know it, and they need to change it... but being an air carrier is a huge investment, you don't move the ship that quickly. Fuel prices rose quickly, but in the last year, it skyrocketed for the carriers, and while they expected it to be bad, they didn't expect it to be THAT bad. So now they are in panic mode, and companies in panic mode do stupid shit.

Re:Dinosaurs continue to resist change (4, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533301)

If comparison shopping is a threat to your business model, perhaps you have a flawed business model?

Maybe if the aggregators were just listing the fares from the RyanAir website, and directing customers there when they selected a flight or airline them you'd have a viable argument.

But the aggregators were scraping teh RyanAir website, adding in a margin for THEMSELVES, and processing the transaction.

In other words, they were ripping Ryanair customers off. These Aggregator customers would have been better off just booking through the RyanAir website directly.

Additionally, this move wouldn't affect any aggregator that redirected customers to book through the Ryanair website, because the customer bookings would still go directly through the ryanair website. So if all you were doing was providing convenient (adsupported) flight rate comparisons this move didn't actually affect you. It *only* affected aggregators that actually processed the bookings (and these guys invariably added some margin for themselves.)

I get what you are saying and agree, if blocking comparison shopping is your business model, then something isn't going to go well... but its hard to be critical of Ryanair here. I'm much more inclined to call these aggregator sites that this affected as the badguys here. They were effectively misrepresenting what they were actually offering.

Ryanair are awful, though (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24532857)

Them not being listed on 3rd party sites would be doing people a favour - otherwise you might accidentally book a flight with them or something. And you will not like it. You'll likely end up 50 miles away from your real destination at some godforsaken nowhere airport, and any money you "saved" with the cheap flight will be gone on road or train transport to your real destination. That or your baggage fees (ryanair often has a baggage allowance of 0. ALL baggage is therefore charged as excess baggage.).

If you must fly with an Irish airline for whatever reason (you're going to Ireland, say...), try Aer Lingus [aerlingus.com] or Aer Arann [aerarann.com] . They're often similarly cheap, and far less incompetent. At least until/unless Ryanair buys them and fucks them up.

With other airlines, you might even get assigned seating in advance!

Re:Ryanair are awful, though (3, Funny)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533083)

For the record and at the risk of feeding a troll, as someone who has actually flown Ryanair, most of the parent post is crap.

Re:Ryanair are awful, though (4, Funny)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533211)

I think it's a guerilla marketing move by Lingus. It's funny how cunning Lingus can be.

Why?? (0, Redundant)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532871)

I am racking my brain here and I can't think of a single reason to do this. It makes no sense at all. They got paid. Maybe not as much as they may have through their own website, but still a considerable percentage.

Does anybody have any insight as to a sound business reason to do so?

Re:Why?? (2, Insightful)

skelly33 (891182) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533029)

Same reason any inept manager wants their product prices removed from price comparison sites: because it shows who is lower than them and leads customers away. The sites are designed to drive down consumer prices and the fact is that airlines can't afford to lower prices. They're already stripping meals, movies, headphones, pillows and blankets - what's next, the seat belts?

The motivation makes sense to me. The decision to go ahead with is just, plain stupid though, will hurt in the long run, and ultimately brings no net gains. A travel agent serves the same function - are they going to start suing agents next?

Re:Why?? (1)

barrkel (806779) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533165)

There are no (free) meals, movies, headphones, pillows or blankets on Ryanair flights. There isn't even a pouch on the seat back in front of you - those take too much time to empty out and reduce turnaround time.

Not even your seat reservation is free on Ryanair, because there aren't any - to get a seat you like (be it window or aisle or, if you're a bit weird, a middle seat) - you have to queue up early or pay extra to join the priority queue.

Re:Why?? (5, Insightful)

barrkel (806779) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533099)

Ryanair usually has the lowest fares, even when you count in all their extra charges (credit card booking fee, checking in fee, luggage fee (different from checking in fee), airport fee (if you fly from Knock in Ireland, someone stiffs you for another 20 EUR or so just before you board).

O'Leary (Ryanair CEO) has never made good customer service a priority. Basically, he sees airplane travel as like bus travel: cut the price down as much as possible, headline it as even lower (i.e. not including extra fees), and pack 'em in.

His strategy, as it is, is to force people to come back solely on price, even if their experience was miserable. When price differentials in the plane business can be well over 100 EUR from one option to the next, this works, alas.

So, here in this news item he is punishing two people: customers who dared to book outside Ryanair's system, and screen scrapers who might be able to level the price visibility playing field (even though Ryanair usually wins here as it is).

He's relying on the fact that the low prices are such a big draw that he can afford to push customers around.

Flying Ryanair is a bit like taking a cheap bus driven by an unpleasant bouncer. It's usually the cheapest option (often by quite a ways) to get from A to B, but if you piss off the driver, he has no qualms about breaking your nose for you.

Then again, it may be just for the publicity... (3, Interesting)

thatseattleguy (897282) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532927)

Of course, it could all just be a stunt to get attention and further a reputation as a Bad Boy Airline.

Remember, this is the outfit that promoted its Business Class service with a You Tube video entitled "Beds and Blowjobs": here's the official RyanAir press release from June '08 [ryanair.com] (work safe)

Re:Then again, it may be just for the publicity... (1)

feedayeen (1322473) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533107)

How could this be for publicity? Their customers wonâ(TM)t be able to buy the tickets without the Travelosity Gnome to help them.

Comparison sites bad for business (4, Interesting)

mattbee (17533) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532929)

I'd heard that a lot of these 3rd party booking sites weren't using any sanctioned API, but scraping the airline's own retail sites for fares and proxying customers' credit card details etc. for making bookings, then charging a premium for the flight. By cancelling these fares the airlines are rocking confidence in comparison sites, and obviously pushing some business away, but I don't think they're opening themselves to lawsuits since customers didn't book with them direct. Only the booking sites might have a case against them, and that seems unlikely given the hoops they had to jump through to make the booking in the first place!

Re:Comparison sites bad for business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24533075)

Make no mistake, the cancellation action causes tangible damages for the customer.

The 3rd-party site is merely acting as an agent on the customer's behalf, in exchange for a commission.

If you have an agent make an contract with a third-party (the airline in this case), then you and the airline are the contracting parties.

The agent's involvement is that you hired them to facilitate the process of originally establishing the agreement (booking the flight).

Certainly the agreement to fly from A to B is not between _the agent_ and the airline.

Re:Comparison sites bad for business (2, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533103)

> ...customers didn't book with them direct...

The customers might be able to make a case that the sites were acting as their agents.

Does that mean... (1)

Illbay (700081) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532973)

...THE END OF THE LINE for those guys that dress up in Statue of Liberty or Uncle Sam costumes to drum up business for tax services before April 15?

Maybe this is not so unreasonable (5, Insightful)

Graff (532189) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532977)

After clicking past the blog speedbump to the actual article [independent.ie] I can see why the airline is doing this. The airline has their own website which handles the booking and also ties in other services like hotels, car rentals, insurance, and so on. These third party websites aren't going through an established booking system, instead they are screen scraping and acting as a front-end to the airline's website. This would be like a third party mirroring Slashdot's stories without Slashdot's advertisements, costing Slashdot revenue.

Using the airline's website in this manner is not only illegal but it also causes a lot of slowdowns and other problems for the people who actually go to the airline's website.

Now the airline is punishing the wrong people by canceling all the bookings done through the third parties. The right thing to do would be to allow the passengers to keep their bookings, but then sue the third party website. Yes, canceling the booking will cause more trouble for the third party sites but it will also mess up the customers and give them a bad impression of the airline, also hurting their business.

Maybe the easiest thing to do is to have some sort of partner network where they provide access to their booking system for the third parties for a fee while they mess up the screen scrapers with technology and lawsuits. This would make their booking system more accessible while providing a side revenue stream for people who don't use the airline's website and all the extra money makers on there.

Re:Maybe this is not so unreasonable (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24533179)


After clicking past the blog speedbump to the actual article [independent.ie] I can see why the airline is doing this. The airline has their own website which handles the booking and also ties in other services like hotels, car rentals, insurance, and so on. These third party websites aren't going through an established booking system, instead they are screen scraping and acting as a front-end to the airline's website. This would be like a third party mirroring Slashdot's stories without Slashdot's advertisements, costing Slashdot revenue.

It's not like that at all. The airlines are selling a product that generates revenue.

The screen scrapers are actually providing customers a way to buy the things that generate revenue.

So the Airline ties in hotel rentals...
Don't you think people would be upset if the Hotels started stating they would cancel reservations / refuse to honor the rates made through third-party sites (like the airlines' sites) ??

Re:Maybe this is not so unreasonable (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533321)

This would be like a third party mirroring Slashdot's stories without Slashdot's advertisements, costing Slashdot revenue.

I block all the /. script and ads anyway. So I guess I am unethical. And so are people who use the Tivo to skip commercials.

Using the airline's website in this manner is not only illegal....

Now IANAL, but I am reasonably certain it's not. The information on the public Internet and viewable to anyone. It's no more illegal that Best Buy sending 'competitive secret shoppers' to the local Circuit City so they can match their prices. As long as these site are not misrepresenting themselves (i.e. posing as customers, giving fake CC data), I don't see how the law would have any issues with it.

...but it also causes a lot of slowdowns and other problems for the people who actually go to the airline's website.

So can googlebot or any other app that crawls your site. The 3rd party brokers would have to be sending massive requests to the airline server to make any significant difference. And they very well may be doing just that. But any rookie sysadmin could easily block those request if they became a problem.

Re:Maybe this is not so unreasonable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24533445)

Using the airline's website in this manner is not only illegal

Can you please post a link to the law in

a) your country
b) the airlines country and
c) the offending sites country

to justify this comment.

Do not send me customers! (2, Funny)

suck_burners_rice (1258684) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532999)

I have this amazing product that will solve all your problems. And to make sure that my business is successful, I will punch anyone who dares to send me customers. Consider yourself warned!

the WalMart of European travel (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24533073)

I personally love the true capitalistic cut-throat cunning that RyanAir has employed to keep costs low and profits high.
-- They modeled Southwests early success, but stayed much more true to mission as a budget carrier.
--They intentionally use stairs to the tarmac at the plane's doors in Dublin to save on maintenance (and surreptitiously discourage disabled people from flying with them to shorten the amount of time the plane is on the ground).
--They have brand-spanking new planes that were purchases shortly after 9-11 at pennies on the dollar because Boeing was fearing utter calamity.
--They make a ton of money from people buying early for nothing tickets and then not showing up.
--They are militantly union-busting and have fired striking workers before, and will do it again.

Basically in American terms, they are the WalMart of travel -- they have revolutionized European air travel and made it much more accessible to the average person. Their customers realise it's completely no-frills. I personally find the little jingle that plays when disembarking to be the funniest.

The good ole' days of flight are over... (5, Interesting)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533089)

... and they ain't coming back.

Disclaimer: I work for an airport.

In the opinion of most people that work in commercial aviation, the airline business is in the middle of a huge contraction and consolidation. Fuel costs aren't the reason, they're just the latest body blow in a series of punches that is destroying air travel as you know it.

First off, improving communicatins technology began lessening the need for business air travel in the late 90's. And business travel has always been the lifeblood of the airline industry, it's driving force on a day to day basis. Then September 11th happened. People were scared to fly, they hated the new security measures, and just decided they'd rather drive, thanks. Then came fuel prices.

The US airline industry is undergoing the same fate as the rail industry after WW II, and the military aviation sector after the Cold War ended. A combination of forces is radically shrinking it. Just as there's one passenger rail service now (AmTrak, and subsidized at that), just as there are now only two major airframe builders left in the US (Boeing and Lockheed-Martin), there will probably be, within ten years, only a few passenger airlines left in the US. Delta is already consuming Northwest, and word in the industry is that US Airways is already putting feelers out to Delta; "Hey, buy us out too". Most airports have something of an airline deadpool going. The people I work with are in agreement that we'll probably end up with no more than three major passenger airlines in the US when all is said and done. The biggest air carriers in the world have already changed from passenger companies to freight companies. FedEx and UPS already far outstrip the top US passenger line, Delta, in terms of fleet size, traffic, and numbers of flights. That's only going to accelerate in the future.

More people are going to take "staycations" in the future. If gas prices keep going down, they'll start driving for vacations more, but the heyday of passenger service is done, and it's not coming back. More and more businesses will do their routine "business travel" via teleconferencing. Many smaller airports will either go to skeleton crews to cut costs or just close outright as airlines stop serving them. Even if you brought back massive regulation (and the extra costs that come with it), nothing is going to stop this process. As better and cheaper business broadband becomes more widely available, the paring back of business travel will only accelerate. It'll never completely disappear, but its definitely downsizing, if you will.

Private jets and old biz models. (5, Insightful)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533355)

In grad school, I had a classmate that was in operations at Delta. He thought it would good for Delta to go bankrupt because it's business model was from the 70s and the regulation - that whole hub and spoke nonsense. The new airlines were able to start fresh and away from that model.

The other thing is that private jet sales are increasing yearly. CEOs, mostly, are buying them up at shareholder's expense so they won't have to wait for security and fly with us regular people. Boeing actually has a 737 based "business" jet that has a hot tub. It's good to be King (CEO).

And some companies actually send their regular employees on the corp jet because it's just so much more efficient and reliable than commercial jets.

I think your right. Commercial flying is dead as we know it. I for one, will drive anywhere that takes less than 8 hours in a car. When you think about it: 1 hour to the airport, 2 hours security, 1 hour flight time to anywhere (assuming they're actually on time), and then another hour to where you want to be. That's five hours. For an extra 3 hours: I save hundred of dollars; I can use any fucking electronic device I want; I can say "bomb", "mom", "terrorist", etc..; I don't have some snot serving me water who thinks she's been made in flight goddess because of 9/11 and I better not question her authoritay!; I have plenty of elbow room; I don't have to wait in line to pee - just get off the highway; and it goes on and on. ...

Mod Parent Skyward! (2)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533381)

Seriously, after dozens of self-satisfied comments claiming shit like 'Oh, they don't want business! Waak-waak-waak!', this is an informative breath of fresh air. Christ, does nobody even bother to read TFA any more?

The -n business model (3, Insightful)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533105)

When a business is run in 'negative profit' mode (Ryanair, like most airlines, loses money on nearly every flight) the logic of business changes. They are no longer interested in making money, but in minimizing how much they will lose. It's kind of like someone who uses bankruptcy as a financial planning tool. They know full well that they are going to file for bankruptcy every 10 years, so than manage their money accordingly.

nice little try (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24533139)

refusing 3rd parties to bring customers is just a nice way to make it harder for the people finding cheaper tickets easily
PROFIT!

Let me see if I get this... (4, Insightful)

slarrg (931336) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533261)

Airlines have been decreasing the services to their customers: Overcrowding planes, ever smaller seats, less leg room, fewer in-flight amenities, increased overbooking, ever more delayed flights and a myriad of new fees.

In addition, the TSA has made air travel more cumbersome with security theater (remove your shoes, don't bring liquids, etc.) with unspecified policies so that you never know if the policies in place when you fly somewhere will be the same policies in place for your return trip. For example, I know I would have been very upset if I travelled to London before the big liquid scare and had to put my laptop in the belly of the beast with the baggage gorillas when I returned.

In addition, the airlines also implemented a pricing policy for their tickets to try to maximize the price charged for each passenger. The whole "why sell a ticket for $200 if the customer would be willing to pay $500" philosophy. So customers began using services that would help them decrease their ticket prices because the airlines would overcharge them if at all possible. So now the airlines are offering the minimum service possible and are surprised that passengers want to pay the minimum amount possible for this service. When you abuse your customers for your own financial gain, the customers will lose respect for your company and when they have the power to stop feeding your greed they will do so. Once this happens, getting these customers to business with you again will be incredibly costly and may very well bankrupt the company. This is true for airlines and will also be true for phone companies, ISPs, Microsoft and the music industry. Ultimately, customers will punish usurious greed, it just may take them a while to have the power to do so.

I keep saying it. . .Just Don't Fly (1)

Knight of Shadows (1163917) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533289)

These morons should be allowed to wallow in their own stupidity to the point where they collapse under it. Then, they should be denied any bankruptcy status, as their financial situation is caused by sheer stupidity. Then, all businesses hiring for any position, anywhere, should then not hire anyone who has worked for an airline in any capacity. Sort of a "We're sorry, but we're canceling the concept of hiring scumbags' policy. It's the public that has the power. . .when are they going to wake up to it? To not do a thing is one of the easiest things in the world. The public needs to teach these arrogant bastards a lesson, one that has been long in coming. This would then serve as a wake-up call to any corporation that screws over the common man, and serve to remove such a vile word as 'consumer' from our common lexicon.

This has its ups and downs (3, Insightful)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533317)

There's been a flood of "aggregators" lately. They don't have anything of their own to offer, they just pull information from others and present it.

Is this a good thing? I'm starting to think it's not. All this seems to be is just another set of middlemen pulling profit from other people's transactions.

But is Ryanair doing good by canceling tickets? Absolutely not. The customers bought tickets to travel Ryanair on good faith. If Ryanair doesn't like the aggregators, then they could bar future transactions. But by canceling transactions that were already made they've moved into lawsuit territory. If they want not to be included on the various airfare comparison sites then that's their right.

But punishing their customers for something that they didn't do - that's just plain evil. Ryanair executives should pay for this one...

Thats not all! (4, Interesting)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533319)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3443739.stm [bbc.co.uk] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6087016.stm [bbc.co.uk] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cambridgeshire/4910134.stm [bbc.co.uk] ...and I recall a case, which I can't find, where passengers were unloaded from an aircraft because they were disabled. Lets help bring these cowboys down!

Low Cost Search Destroys profits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24533339)

When you do a comparison search for the lowest cost fare, if you are not in the lowest 10, you will most likely never be seen. If this airline must raise their prices to be profitable then this move makes sense, since they will never be seen on these sites anyway. It is a reaction against the corrosive nature of searching for the "cheapest fare". This also brings rise to all the extra charges for baggage and oil surcharges etc. that are not included in the base fare.

All airlines are going to try and do something like this. This is just an initial attempt by a small airline to see if it can get away with destroying the search sites, so they can raise prices to a profitable level again.

A change in direction (2, Funny)

JonDorian88 (1341359) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533439)

With charging people to check in their bags, charging them for the use of their rubbish pillows, you'd think they'd charge you to get off the plane before resorting to this.

Does (1)

hansoloaf (668609) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533453)

Does this affect Kayak and other similar websites? After all all they do is collect the info and compare the prices.
When you purchase the ticket - you get redirected to the airline's site.

I just booked a trip to Europe (1)

Pincus (744497) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533457)

I planned to get around while there using short flights and discount airlines such as Easyjet and Ryanair. One low cost aggregator I found was eDreams. Now I'm afraid to book through them and plan to go direct to Easyjet and/or Ryanair.

And for what it's worth, I'm flying back on an American flight found through Cheaptickets. If I end up stranded in Bratislava, keep me in your prayers.
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