Ryanair Tries To Defend Canceling Tickets Bought On Third Party Sites

from the but-why?!? dept

A few weeks back, we wrote about Ryanair's decision to cancel flight tickets that had been bought by travelers via third party websites. This made no sense to us whatsoever. These third party websites were acting as resellers, and doing something that seemed perfectly legal: providing new avenues for travelers to buy Ryanair tickets. And then to have Ryanair flat-out cancel the tickets without any refund just seemed to do the opposite: to piss off travelers who had happily paid for Ryanair tickets.

The airline is now defending the decision, but is doing an awful job of it. First, it complains that these other sites were jacking up the price on Ryanair tickets. Fair enough, but if the travelers were still willing to pay those fees, where's the problem? Everyone got what they wanted in that scenario, as opposed to the current scenario where everyone is worse off: the travelers are out money without the plane tickets they thought they had bought, Ryanair has a bunch of really pissed off customers and the third party sites are none too happy as well. How is that possibly a better situation?

Then Ryanair claims that these 3rd party sites are violating its copyright in reselling its tickets, but it's difficult to see how such a claim could stick. First of all, as long as the sites are legitimately passing on the lead or buying the tickets themselves, then where's the copyright violation? It's certainly not in visiting Ryanair's website. It's not in displaying the prices (which Ryanair admits are different than its own, and prices aren't copyrightable anyway). So, again, we're left wondering how this move could possibly make sense for Ryanair?

Update: As pointed out in the comments by discojohnson, the original article at the Independent reports that refunds were given to the websites involved, but the decision to refund the customers themselves was then left to up to those particular websites. We have corrected this post to reflect that clarification.
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Filed Under: copyright, flights, third party sites
Companies: ryanair


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  1. identicon
    MarkL, 27 Aug 2008 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Re: Avoiding price comparisons

    For almost any airline other than Ryanair, I'd agree that it's stupid, but Ryanair by it's sheer size has incredible mindshare as the 'first destination' if you're looking to fly short haul at the right price.

    I'm always amazed at how successful this is - time after time I speak to people who paid more to fly Ryanair because they weren't even aware that other airlines served their local airport and weren't aware that there are sites that would have shown them a lower price. Remember that in Europe, the majority of traffic is on low-cost airlines that don't appear in the 'aggregator' sites, so virtually nobody uses them for shorthaul - this move is to ensure they continue to not use them!

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