On the Beach sues Ryanair over ‘dominant’ position

Online travel agency On the Beach is suing no-frills carrier Ryanair for blocking it from booking flights with the airline.

In legal documents filed with the UK High Court, On The Beach claims Ryanair breached competition rules by blocking the agency’s credit cards and preventing its customers from managing bookings online.

“On The Beach claims Ryanair abused its ‘dominant’ position in the market and caused it loss by unlawful means,” reported the the Financial Times.

“The travel agent claims Ryanair stops it from creating a ‘my Ryanair account’ required to make a booking and has made false and disparaging claims about the company.”

The FT report said On The Beach is seeking damages from the airline and claims Ryanair sought to “degrade the experience for On The Beach customers by making it less convenient and/or more expensive for…customers to use Ryanair than for direct customers”.

“On the Beach claims in its legal filing that package travel rules forced it to refund customers for cancelled flights that Ryanair did not pay back. The company claims it was forced to pay refunds worth £48.7m,” said the FT.

The report said Ryanair is yet to file a defence to the allegations and declined to comment.

In May, Ryanair group chief executive Michael O’Leary said OTAs accounted for 20% of the airline’s pre-Covid-19 bookings, adding: “They are a real pain in the arse, these OTAs, disrupting our communications with customers.”

Ryanair refused to pay refunds via the OTAs, insisting customers claim refunds direct and in the court papers On the Beach claims that package travel rules forced it to refund customers for cancelled flights that Ryanair did not pay back, worth £48.7 million.

In 2012, Ryanair accused On the Beach of screen scraping fares and launched legal action for breach of the terms of use of its website.

More: O’Leary concedes OTAs book 20% of Ryanair flights

Ryanair takes legal action against On the Beach [2012]

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