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Airline Plans To Cancel All Flights Booked Through 3rd Party Websites

from the piss-off-your-customers-much? dept

And people wonder why airlines have so much trouble staying in business? 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 (thanks to Sean for the link).

Yes, we understand that these airlines prefer people to purchase flights from the airlines directly, but it still seems bizarre to try to cut off a great promotional channel. People already know to go look at 3rd party sites for airfare, so actively working against having your flights promoted doesn't make much sense. Then actively pissing off a bunch of your customers who booked through those sites by canceling their flights is even more braindead, as you've just formed a huge group of customers who will complain about your airline and spread the word about how you canceled their legitimately purchased flight for no reason other than spite and a confusion over business models. When Ryanair started promoting how some of its seats might come with sexual gratification, I'd bet many passengers didn't realize it would end with them getting screwed.

Filed Under: aggregation, airlines, cancel, global distribution services, scraping, ticket prices
Companies: ryanair


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  1. identicon
    Hulser, 8 Aug 2008 @ 11:37am

    A game of chicken?

    And people wonder why airlines have so much trouble staying in business?

    High fuel prices?

    it still seems bizarre to try to cut off a great promotional channel

    I'm guessing that the normal rules of business become distorted when you actually lose money on every flight, as almost all airlines (at least in the US) are.

    I heard a story on NPR this morning about how all of the new fees being charged by airlines are a way to keep the up-front costs down enough so that the company's flights can appear on the critically important first results page when people do a search. The main point of the story was that all of the US carriers know that their fares are way too low to actually make any money -- given today's fuel prices -- but that no one wants to be the first to raise prices for fear that they'll fall off that first results page and lose business.

    The story even implied that the US carriers blame their financial troubles on their customers for "unreasonable" demands for low airfares. With an attitude like this, it's no wonder that an airline would cancel flights like this.

    (So, how's that for turning your standard principles of capitolism on its head: all of the companies in a certain area know that their prices are so low that they can't stay in business for long, but no one wants to be the first to raise prices. It's like a game of chicken, but on a massive scale. Scary.)

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