Ryanair has yet again accused online travel agent ‘pirates’ of overcharging customers and using ‘fake fees’.
The budget airline is embroiled in a long-running dispute with online travel agents (OTAs), not only complaining that they charge customers too much for Ryanair flights but that they have been selling its flights without permission.
In its latest broadside, Ryanair has claimed that On The Beach is ‘the number one pirate, overcharging customers by a rapacious 117 per cent (£125) for a flight change fee that costs just £45 on Ryanair.com’.
Opodo was also highlighted in the report for ‘charging a 60-euro [£51] service fee’ for what was described as ‘a non-existent service’. While eSky charges a 33-euro (£28) cancellation fee ‘for flights that cannot be cancelled’, the low-cost carrier added.
In its study, Ryanair repeated calls for the UK and Irish governments and EU consumer agencies to ‘take action to stop OTA piracy and consumer rip-offs’ as part of its campaign for holidaymakers ‘to be protected from overcharging and mis-selling’.
Ryanair has yet again accused online travel agent ‘pirates’ of overcharging customers and using ‘fake fees’
|+26 per cent
|On The Beach
|+71 per cent
|On The Beach
|+117 per cent
Ryanair’s Dara Brady said: ‘Our February survey continues to expose the scams and overcharging of OTA Pirates, with On The Beach highlighted as February’s No.1 Pirate for its egregious 117 per cent overcharge of £125 for a £45 flight change fee on Ryanair.com.
‘While Opodo is charging a 60-euro “service” fee for a non-existent service and eSky are charging a 33-euro “cancellation” fee for flights that cannot be cancelled.
‘These are just the latest examples of hundreds where OTA Pirates are unlawfully scraping Ryanair.com to overcharge, dupe and scam unsuspecting consumers for Ryanair products and services.
‘It is unacceptable that the UK and Irish governments and EU consumer agencies continue to ignore this rampant digital piracy and anti-consumer mis-selling.
‘Ryanair will continue to campaign against these OTA Pirates, exposing their digital piracy and overcharging scams and will continue to call for these OTA Pirates to be outlawed and their scams ended.’
Ryanair analysis highlighted the price of adding a 20kg bag to a Ryanair flight when booking with On The Beach (£34.99)
Ryanair isn’t alone in issuing cautions about OTA fees. Last year, travellers were warned by Which? to take seemingly ‘bargain’ flight fares offered by some OTAs ‘with a pinch of salt’, with research by the consumer champion revealing that their deals can be more than £100 more expensive than booking directly with airlines due to ‘eyewatering’ rates for extras such as luggage and seat selection.
In January, meanwhile, Ryanair cautioned over a hit from the move by a raft of OTAs to remove the Irish airline from their websites.
The carrier said that, since early December, many of the larger sites such as Booking.com, Kiwi and Kayak have taken Ryanair off their sites.
It said the sudden removal from what it claimed were OTA ‘pirates’ was ‘welcome’, but added that it would impact its so-called load facto – a key measure of how well airlines fill their planes – by one per cent or two per cent throughout December and January.
Ryanair claims online travel agents (OTAs) are charging ‘fake fees’. The airline highlighted this in red pen in Opodo’s terms and conditions, which stipulate ‘a service fee of up to 60 euros’
However, the Irish carrier doesn’t dislike all OTAs – it recently signed a deal with loveholidays to offer its flights as part of package trips.
In response to the latest Ryanair analysis, an Opodo spokesperson said: ‘The accusation of “invented fees” is entirely unfounded. In reality, travellers pay less for their holidays with us – Ryanair simply opposes this because we help travellers access their competition.
‘This baseless claim is hypocritical of Ryanair, considering they are notorious as the King of Fees, imposing up to 28 different service charges on consumers, charging for anything conceivable. We compare and combine flights from 700 airlines to offer travellers cheaper and more convenient routes than Ryanair’s limited options.’
In its analysis, Ryanair circled what it referred to as ‘fake fees’ charged by eSky, including a 33-euro cancellation fee – ‘for flights that cannot be cancelled’
Deniz Rymkiewicz, spokesperson for eSky Group, said: ‘Once again, Ryanair, which is in conflict with OTAs, is attempting to portray OTAs as the “bad guys” of the industry. We believe the report released on February 9 shouldn’t be treated as such due to basic inaccuracies in the methodology.
‘Foremost, comparing luggage prices without providing a broader context is misleading. It is standard practice for airlines, including Ryanair, to adjust both flight and luggage prices dynamically based on various factors such as destination and booking window.
‘Regarding the cancellation fee, I would like to point out that it is taken out of context and applies to any airline, not just Ryanair. This fee covers the services provided in processing flight cancellations, including communication with the airline to verify cancellation terms and potential refund options.
Ryanair highlighted that eSky (price circled left) charges more than Ryanair.com (price circled right) for Priority Boarding
‘Ryanair’s flights are non-refundable, so this fee applies to airlines that allow cancellation with a partial or full refund, depending on their policies.’
A spokesperson for On The Beach said Ryanair ‘is comparing amendments to flight-only bookings with ATOL-protected package holidays’ which is ‘like comparing a single apple with a whole basket of fruit’.
They added: ‘Our holidays include flights, accommodation, transfers and any activities or excursions, plus flexible payment plans to best suit our customers’ needs – something that cannot be offered when booking flights alone.
‘The flight is only one part of a holiday and so to compare amendments to a package holiday and all of its components is simply not a fair or true comparison.’