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Leading travel agencies turn away from Ryanair

Major travel agencies are turning away from Ryanair following its ongoing crackdown on screen–scraping websites.


Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary wrote to the European Commission on August 20 naming more than 300 travel companies it claims are screen–scraping its fares and have been issued with a “legally binding cease and desist notice”.


Travel agencies Hays Travel, Barrhead Travel, Flight Centre and Portman Travel are named in the letter, as well as online travel companies including lastminute.com and Opodo.


Barrhead Travel associate director Mark Brock said the Scottish miniple had never screen–scraped flights.


“We used a feed from a technology provider but, since we received a letter from Ryanair, we have now stopped selling it altogether. We’re sorry it has come to this as we’d like to work with Ryanair and provide customers with as much choice as possible,“ he said.


Hays Travel managing director John Hays said: “We stopped doing any business with [Ryanair] when we realised what stance it was taking. Ideally we’d like to work with as wide a range of suppliers as possible, but only people who want to work with us.”


Meanwhile, ABTA has warned agents who sell Ryanair flights online they could face compensation claims. A spokeswoman said: “Members should recognise there’s a risk as clients could seek to claim for losses if their flight is cancelled.“


Ryanair’s terms and conditions state that it sells tickets strictly through its own website. The Irish carrier has cancelled up to 5,000 tickets sold by third parties since the beginning of August. However there havebeen no reports of cancellations in the UK.


The action has resulted in a “dramatic reduction” in screenscraper bookings,O‘Leary said.


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