Ryanair has revoked a licencing agreement with momondo following what the airline terms a “breach of contract”.
Ryanair had granted a non-exclusive licence to momondo to display its fares for price comparison purposes, one of a number of travel websites including SkyScanner, Hipmunk and Dohop licenced to do so.
However, Ryanair revoked its licence after momondo displayed links to unauthorised “screenscraper” websites including Opodo and CheapOair, which unlawfully mis-sell Ryanair’s fares, in clear breach of the licence agreement.
Ryanair has been engaged in several legal cases across Europe against screenscraper websites such as Opodo and eDreams to prevent consumers from being subjected to extra charges and to ensure Ryanair has appropriate contact details to communicate with its customers.
Many of these websites continue to cause problems for Ryanair customers and/or fail/refuse to pass on vital information to both customers and Ryanair regarding issues such as flight changes, web check-in, special needs assistance and contact details, which has resulted in missed flights and repeated problems for customers.
Ryanair spokesman Robin Kiely said: “As momondo was in clear breach of the terms of our contract by actively linking to screenscraper websites, we have revoked its licence in an effort to prevent any more customers being misled.
“It’s important to note that Ryanair has no commercial agreement whatsoever with Opodo or CheapOair, who continue to engage in unauthorised screenscraping.”
Ryanair has commenced legal proceedings in the Irish High Court against both Google and eDreams to stop them misleading consumers by advertising non-existent Ryanair fares via the eDreams website and Google search adverts, practices which are prohibited by Irish consumer legislation.
Commenting on the decision, Pia Vemmelund, managing director of momondo, explained: “Our primary purpose has always been to show the lowest available price to provide our users with transparency.
“Therefore, we won’t compromise on that transparency by taking out specific travel agencies from our search results just because an airline like Ryanair tells us to.
“That would be against our principles.
“We can confirm that we no longer have a license agreement with Ryanair, but we cannot confirm a breach of contract or that we agreed to exclusively show Ryanair prices through Ryanair’s website only.
“So, we continue to show Ryanair flights when these are sold through travel agencies, and we’re happy to continue to show our users the lowest prices and offer transparency.”
In March, the UK Advertising Standards Authority found that eDreams’ and Opodo’s advertising on Google was “misleading” consumers and breached the CAP code, while the UK CAA this month forced eDreams and Opodo to change their Google adwords practices, website appearance and headline prices, following submissions by Ryanair.
Reacting to today’s news, an eDreams ODIGEO spokesperson said: “Ryanair are trying desperately, but failing, to stand in the way of the millions of people using online travel agent sites like ours, to get the best deal and the most convenient combination of flights possible.
“Ryanair are threatened by the fact that close to half of our customers book a combination of flights which cannot be booked on any single airline website.
“This bullying behaviour - trying to force sites to remove the best deals possible - is risking consumers losing out.”
eDreams ODIGEO argues Ryanair will soon be undergoing a CAA investigation into ‘unfair charges’, and face the threat of a class action lawsuit from over 5,000 unhappy consumers on the same issue.