As Ryanair and eDreams Odigeo remain locked in a legal battle along with Google over how it markets and sells the carrier’s flights, the OTA’s boss mounted a spirited defence of online agents.
Asked to comment on the ongoing legal dispute which is making its way through the courts in Ireland, eDreams’ chief executive Dana Dunne would not directly refer to the case.
But he said consumers are increasingly turning to general OTAs like eDreams and its Opodo brand as they prioritise choice and finding product that is ideal for their requirements.
“Airlines like Ryanair offer one product and that’s it. We fit very much with what the consumer wants these days,” said Dunne.
“They want to see the marketplace. They don’t want a company trying to push them towards a 6am departure or some out-of-the-way airport nowhere near where they want to go because that’s what they’ve got.
“It’s all about offering the best price, the best departure time, and meeting the customers’ needs and making sure that they have the confidence that all this is done transparently and quickly. That’s why we are absolutely on the side of the customer.
“We show them the market. We want to apply value to the individual consumer, we want to personalise the experience so they know they are getting what meets their needs. We work for the consumer not Ryanair, that’s not the path we have chosen.”
At the end of 2015 Ryanair launched a high-profile, aggressive attack on eDreams Odigeo as it began legal action in Ireland accusing the OTA of deceiving customers into thinking they were booking with the airline, and Google of assisting them in promoting links in paid results.
It said it mounted legal action after complaints direct to Google boss Eric Schmidt went unanswered. Ryanair has said its ambition is to evolve into more than just a flights retailer, trading on its brand to offer customers other travel and non-travel product.