UPDATED: On The Beach refutes Ryanair screen-scraping claims

On the Beach has rejected claims by Ryanair that its sale of the carrier’s flights has triggered complaints by passengers. The company said it would “robustly refute” the allegations.

Ryanair issued a statement yesterday saying it had begun legal action against On the Beach, accusing the online travel agent (OTA) of screen scraping the carrier’s site.

The airline claimed to have received more than 300 complaints from passengers who booked through the OTA.

The allegations were the latest in a string of Ryanair complaints against OTAs.

On the Beach chief marketing officer Alistair Daly said: “On the Beach is one of 36 OTAs across Europe against which Ryanair has issued or lodged proceedings with the Dublin High Court in the past four years.

“We are aware Ryanair has written to other high-profile UK OTAs outlining similar allegations but has not yet commenced proceedings against these businesses.”

Daly told Travel Weekly: “We are disputing the Irish jurisdiction and, in any event, will robustly refute the allegations made by Ryanair.

“We categorically deny that there is any basis to these allegations and believe we have fully dealt with all the issues outlined in our correspondence with them [Ryanair].”

The carrier said it initiated legal action against On the Beach for breach of Ryanair.com’s terms of use and intellectual property rights.

A Ryanair spokesman said: “Online travel agents or screen scraper websites continue to cause problems for passengers.

“Many of these sites fail to pass on vital information to both passengers and Ryanair regarding flight changes, web check-in, special needs assistance and contact details, which has resulted in missed flights and repeated problems for customers.”

Ryanair has fought a long battle against screen-scrapers and last October brought in reCAPTCHA security screening to try to tackle the problem of OTA’s accessing its fares and itineraries without permission.

Industry insiders estimate that an average of 40% of online agents’ business includes a Ryanair flight, although for some individual retailers this is thought to rise to as much as 60%.

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