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. icon
    Mike (profile), 8 Aug 2008 @ 11:49am

    Re: A game of chicken?

    High fuel prices?

    To be fair, airlines had trouble staying in business long before the price of fuel shot up. It's not helping matters, but it's hardly the cause.

    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

    I'd agree... except for the actions described above are so that they no longer appear on the search at all.

    That's the part I don't understand.

    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.

    But the actual complaint was that the fees charged by those 3rd part providers was too high. So that doesn't mesh either.

    I dunno. I understand the points you're making, but they don't seem to explain this behavior.

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