Ryanair hails ‘landmark’ screenscraping court victory

Ryanair has claimed a “landmark” victory in a case against a German travel firm screenscaping its fares.

The Hamburg Higher Regional Court ordered Beins Travel Group trading as Cheaptickets to refrain from using Ryanair’s website with its booking tool for the purpose of reselling the airline’s flights or from acting as an agent regarding the booking of Ryanair flights.

The court found the website guilty of obstructing fair competition by entering and disrupting Ryanair’s exclusive distribution channel and failing to provide Ryanair with necessary passenger contact details.

The Court also recognised that is not reasonable for Ryanair to lose control regarding the pricing of its tickets.

Ryanair said it has been fighting various cases across Europe to prevent its passengers from being “subjected to excessive charges” and to ensure it has appropriate contact details to communicate with its customers.

The carrier allows “price comparison only” websites to access its timetable and pricing information, for an annual charitable donation of  €100.

This allows them to compare Ryanair’s guaranteed lowest fares with those of high fare airlines.

Ryanair’s licence agreement is open to all genuine “price comparison only” websites and already many have signed up, whereas Cheaptickets refused, the airline said.

An airline spokesman welcomed the court ruling as confirming that Cheaptickets had “obstructed fair competition” by interfering in its exclusive distribution channel while failing to provide Ryanair with the necessary passenger contact details.

“We have been fighting various cases across Europe to prevent our passengers from being subject to excessive charges and to ensure Ryanair has appropriate contact details to communicate with our customers,” he said.

“The court described the situation as unreasonable for Ryanair as Cheaptickets failed to provide the correct email addresses and credit card details of passengers who had made bookings and we hope that this court victory will deter other screenscrapers from mis-selling Ryanair’s low fare flights.

“Screenscraper websites have caused a number of difficulties for passengers. and our message is simple: book directly on www.ryanair.com for the guaranteed lowest fares and best customer care.”

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