Friday, 18 November 2011

Ryanair's new security feature blocks agent sales


Ryanair's new security feature blocks agent sales

A new verification step has been added to the Ryanair booking process, identical to the system many sites already utilise to ensure the inquiry is being made by a genuine human being rather than a machine.
It is understood the new procedure, that requires the customer to enter a unique code, was introduced this week. Agents could still book flights manually, but taking large numbers of flights by screen-scraping would be impossible.
On Holiday Group chief executive Steve Endacott said the move could present a major challenge for a number of UK-based dynamic packaging agencies, some of whom he estimated are up to 60% reliant on Ryanair flights.
He believes Ryanair may be unaware of exactly how much business comes from the trade and, despite chief executive Michael O'Leary's well documented antagonism to travel agents, may come to regret this latest attempt to cut them out.
"They could lose 30% of their business," he said. "It's a question of who blinks first; the trade or Ryanair."
The Irish budget carrier has fought and lost a number of legal cases around Europe in its attempts to prevent third party sales, although many firms are able to get around attempts to stifle screen scraping by using companies based outside of the EU.
Endacott described the move by Ryanair as "deeply anti-consumer".