Milan court upholds Ryanair’s online distribution model

The tailplane of a Ryanair Boeing 737
Photo Credit: Ryanair

The Milan Court of Appeal has rejected claims by online travel agencies Lastminute and Viaggiare’s that Ryanair’s exclusive online distribution model constituted an abuse of a dominant position.

In their finding, the Court confirmed that Ryanair’s exclusive online distribution model was justified in terms of containing operating costs and eliminating the costs associated with intermediation in ticket sales.

Justification for the Distribution Model

European low-cost carrier Ryanair has taken issue with online price gouging, and what it characterizes as ‘OTA Pirates’ in recent weeks.

This week’s ruling by the Milan Court of Appeal has served to reaffirm the legitimacy of Ryanair’s approach, emphasizing its benefits for both the company and consumers alike.

The court’s decision underscores the validity of Ryanair’s exclusive online distribution model, citing its effectiveness in controlling operational costs and eliminating intermediaries in ticket sales.

By bypassing traditional channels, Ryanair can offer competitive fares directly to consumers while establishing a direct line of communication for essential updates and information.

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Importantly, the court found no evidence of harm to users, further validating the integrity of Ryanair’s approach.

A Ryanair jet lands in Italy.
Photo Credit: Fabrizio Berni (GFDL or GFDL), via Wikimedia Commons

Combatting Unlawful Practices

Ryanair’s victory comes amidst ongoing efforts to combat unlawful practices by online travel agencies (OTAs).

These agencies, through tactics such as scraping Ryanair’s website and using fake accounts and payment methods, have been known to overcharge consumers and hinder their ability to manage bookings effectively.

Such practices not only inconvenience customers but also undermine trust and transparency in the travel industry.

Ryanair and loveholidays delegates.
Photo Credit: Ryanair

Consumer Rights

Dara Brady, speaking on behalf of Ryanair, hailed the court’s ruling as a triumph for consumer rights. Brady emphasized the airline’s unwavering commitment to protecting customers from overcharging and ensuring direct access to booking management and flight information.

The verdict reinforces Ryanair’s stance against OTA misconduct while signaling a willingness to engage with responsible partners who prioritize consumer welfare.

In light of this latest legal victory, the airline has urged consumers to book directly through its official channels, emphasizing the benefits of doing so.

By bypassing intermediaries, travelers can access the lowest fares, transparent pricing, and essential communication directly from the airline.

The airline recently took the step of partnering with two OTA companies. Ryanair’s proactive engagement with OTA partners Love Holidays and Kiwi suggests we may see more of a collaborative approach taken to safeguarding consumer interests in the future.


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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
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