Ryanair has launched a High Court battle against Budget Travel to try to block the screen -scraper from selling its flights.
It has asked the court to prohibit Budget Travel from taking its fares from its website and re-selling them. The airline claimed Budget added a minimum €18 mark up to its fares and accused it of failing to provide consumers with a proper breakdown of the flight price.
Ryanair has also been frustrated at Budget's refusal to provide Ryanair with passengers' contact details, which is says it needs to communicate flight changes. "Similar actions by other travel agents resulted in thousands of passengers being left without any information during the 2010 volcanic ash airspace closures, as travel agents and screenscrapers failed to forward Ryanair information to passengers," it said.
The airline also accused the screen scraper of withholding passengers' credit card details, which Ryanair said prevented it from issuing refunds directly to customers. It claimed that instead, Budget chared €75 to return refunds.
Ryanair said it encouraged price comparison only websites to access its timetable and fares for an annual charitable donation of €100. Skyscanner.net and other have paid up, it said, but Budget Travel has refused.
It is also battling with other screen-scraper sites that have managed to find their way around sophisticated technology designed to prevent them accessing its site. See previous story.
The airline's head of communications Stephen McNamara said: "Budget Travel has no permission or agreement with Ryanair and we have been forced to take legal action to insist that they immediately desist from unlawfully scraping and selling Ryanair's low far flights often at inflated prices to unsuspecting consumers."
By Linsey McNeill
Tuesday, February 21, 2012