Ryanair said it will cancel all bookings made through screen-scraping Web sites. "We believe this is a quicker and more effective way of discouraging this unlawful activity and we hope that by getting rid of screen-scrapers we will speed up passenger processing times on Ryanair.com, as well as ensuring that Ryanair passengers are not paying unnecessary handling charges or higher fares to screen-scrapers," the carrier said.
Ryanair said it is working with Navitaire, its reservations system provider, and with Microsoft to eliminate screen-scraping of its site. Meanwhile, Ryanair engaged in a war of words, as well as a legal battle, with BravoFly Ltd., an Irish screen-scraping price comparison Web site, and BravoFly SA, its Swiss parent company.
Ryanair said BravoFly "has confirmed that it has discontinued screen-scraping the Ryanair.com Web site as part of legal proceedings filed against both it and its parent company BravoFly SA." It claimed that this was "the second recent success Ryanair has scored against screen-scraping Web sites and follows Ryanair's successful injunction against V-tours to prevent them from screen-scraping Ryanair's website in Germany."
BravoFly said it did not suspend any activity as a result of legal proceedings. It said the Swiss parent "continues to carry out its activities with complete respect of the law" and has "requested that the Swiss court voice itself on the legitimacy of its proper operation with regard to Ryanair's claims" and "to assess the legality of the low-cost airline's conduct in relation to the false and defamatory news spread through its own press releases."
BravoFly was still including Ryanair flights in its search results. However, if a user attempted to click through to book a Ryanair flight, the following message appeared: "Unfortunately due to a technical problem we are unable to link to the airline systems, therefore we can't confirm the validity of your selection. Please try again with another flight solution or retry the same selection later."
Skyscanner, another price comparison site, said it will not be affected by Ryanair's new policy. It said the move by Ryanair targets booking sites that act as middlemen, charging customers a fee to buy flights from them and bypassing the Ryanair Web site.
Skyscanner offers a direct link to the airline's Web site for booking. CheapOair.com, one of a few online agencies that allow users to book non-U.S.-originating flights, stopped selling Ryanair in May at the carrier's request.
When Ryanair announced its cancellation policy, CheapOair responded with $15 discounts for all U.S. or Canadian passengers who book any Ryanair route on competing carriers through CheapO-air.com.
It also launched a new page that lists all the routes eligible for the discount at cheapoair.com/travel/15-off-inter-europe-routes/.