Impact of Ryanair’s disappearance from booking platforms remains up in the air

Airline has fought a long and bitter battle with online travel agents over delisting

When we book a package holiday — either a traditional one via a brick-and-mortar travel agent, a DIY version or a hybrid using an online booking platform — we rarely think too much about what’s going on behind the scenes.

But what happens behind the scenes very much matters to the operators and the airlines, which is why the decision by some online travel agents (OTAs) including, Kiwi and Kayak to delist Ryanair flights from their platforms last month will have been followed keenly by key players.

What difficulties — if any — it presents to the travelling public remains to be seen but it should be considered a win for Ryanair, which has fought a long and frequently bitter battle with “screen scrapers” and OTAs whom it accuses of marking up its flights before selling them on to their own customers.

For years it has condemned some OTAs for claiming to offer flights at prices even it can’t match — despite flying the planes on which the OTAs are selling the seats.


It argues that the low prices are clickbait and are marked up substantially once would-be travellers are deep into the booking process. It has also slammed OTAs for not using passengers’ email addresses when making bookings on their behalf which makes it harder for them to manage their own bookings.

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OTAs have denied any misleading practices and claim to offer their customers convenience and better value.

They have been quiet about the latest moves and left the pitch to the airline. It has said the move could be “a response to the recent Irish High Court ruling, which granted Ryanair a permanent injunction against screen scraper Flightbox from unlawfully scraping content for OTAs, or in response to Ryanair’s KYP (Know Your Passenger) customer initiatives such as verification.”

That verification process which some passengers may have encountered already, has made it considerably more difficult for third parties to make bookings on behalf of others and while the latest developments have to be considered a victory for the airline, it is also true that some OTAs have very large war chests and are unlikely to fold up their tents and disappear as a result of this setback.