Ryanair under fire: passengers face ‘onerous’ policy as travel agent sues low-cost airline

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Ryanair has been a staple in the sky for decades, but is losing support from both trade and passengers due to its divisive booking policies.

Yesterday, a travel official called operators continuing to work with the low cost airline “irresponsible”.

Criticism comes as online travel agent (OTA) On the Beach sues Ryanair for preventing customers from booking flights on its planes and waging a “smear campaign against false allegations” against the company – in violation of competition rules.

John Bevan, divisional senior vice president of Dubai-based travel group dnata, said his decision to sever ties with the airline last year was the right one.

“Why work with a supplier who is not a partner? ” he said Weekly trip. “Ryanair still owes us millions in refunds. Therefore, we made the business decision to withdraw them from sale in September of last year.

He said the shift to more “trustworthy” airlines and long-haul flights had been justified by the increase in customer ratings, adding that those who still worked with Ryanair were doing so “against all principles. of the tour operator ”.

Why is On the Beach suing Ryanair?

According to legal documents filed with the UK High Court last month, On the Beach says Ryanair “wants to eliminate” online travel agents as a source of competition.

As you know if you’ve Google searched for cheap getaways, online travel agency and airline websites are part of a vacation booking ecosystem, with OTAs often bundling budget flights (like Ryanair and easyJet) with hotel packages to drive. lower costs for vacationers.

Ryanair, however, has become increasingly outspoken about the role of OTAs. Anxious to remove intermediaries, the airline informed its customers that no OTAs were authorized to sell its flights. General manager Michael O’Leary even called online agents “overcharging the crooks” for adding their own fees.

But On the Beach’s (OTB) claims go beyond this struggle for reservations.

He argues that “Ryanair has repeatedly and publicly made allegations about OTAs, including OTB, which are disparaging and false,” including that On the Beach provides “false information” about customers, “uses “fake credit cards” “and” obstructs refunds “. .

Passengers’ woes with Ryanair

Customer complaints with Ryanair go beyond its square seating arrangements and tight baggage policy (now billing flyers to bring cabin-sized wheeled bags on board).

On the Beach also accuses Ryanair of creating an “onerous process” for customers who book through its site – adding an “online verification process” from July 2021.

This appears to be the case for several travel agents. In an email seen by Euronews Travel, a passenger who booked their flights through the online travel agent BudgetAir was informed that the purchase had been made “through a third party intermediary or a BOT that is not authorized by Ryanair to use the Ryanair website or app to sell its flights.

In order for their flight to appear on the Ryanair app, the traveler had to pay 35 cents to verify the reservation, submit a scan of their passport, upload a selfie and take a short video following the instructions to prove they were not. a bot.

Ryanair’s refund policy is another bone of contention for On the Beach. Court documents accuse the airline of seeking “to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to put financial pressure on OTB”, by “denying refunds to OTB customers”.

It is clear that many travelers find agents a useful service, with an increase in their use during the pandemic to help navigate the new rules. But the boss of dnata suggests that the OTA model can be “pretty lazy,” just grabbing all the airlines and allowing people to choose.

Regardless of the ongoing disputes with Ryanair in the travel world, “we need to organize more for our customers,” he said.

Ryanair has been contacted for comment.


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