Ryanair Calls Out Spanish OTA eDreams

Close-up of Ryanair 737 wingtip.
Photo Credit: Ryanair.

Ryanair has once again fired a broadside at another online travel agency (OTA). The major European low-cost carrier has been engaging in a war this year with what it characterizes as ‘OTA Pirates’.

The latest broadside in the ongoing battle has been fired by Ryanair at the Spanish online travel provider eDreams.

Ryanair vs eDreams

Ryanair, the leading European low-cost carrier, continues its fight against online travel agencies (OTAs) it deems “OTA Pirates.”

The airline recently targeted eDreams, a Spanish OTA, accusing them of misleading consumers and unlawfully scraping Ryanair’s website.

On April 12th, Ryanair refuted eDreams’ claims, asserting the OTA:

  • Overcharges customers

Ryanair alleges eDreams charges excessive fees for reserved seats (over 200% markup), checked bags (nearly 100% markup), and nonexistent services like a “Premium” option.

  • Engages in “digital piracy”

The carrier claims eDreams scrapes their website without permission, harming consumers with inflated prices.

  • Misleads regulators

The airline cites a January 2024 Milan court ruling that found no evidence of abuse by Ryanair and upheld their direct sales policy, which benefits consumers with lower fares.

A Ryanair Boeing 737-800 touches down.
Fabrizio Berni (GFDL or GFDL), via Wikimedia Commons

What is an Online Travel Agency (OTA)?

Before diving further into the Ryanair and eDreams dispute, it’s helpful to understand Online Travel Agencies (OTAs).  

OTAs are essentially online marketplaces for travel products and services. They act as intermediaries between travelers and travel suppliers, such as airlines, hotels, car rental companies, and tour operators.

Think of them as giant online travel agents, offering a one-stop shop for trip planning. Travelers can browse and compare prices for flights, hotels, and other travel components on a single platform. 

Many OTAs also offer bundled deals that can be more economical than booking everything separately.

There are numerous OTAs operating worldwide, with some of the biggest players including Booking.com, Expedia, and Kayak. 

While convenient for travelers, the relationship between OTAs and travel suppliers can be complex. Ryanair’s dispute with eDreams highlights some of the potential issues the carrier has been calling out, such as pricing transparency and data scraping.

A Ryanair cabin crew member exits and aircraft.
Photo Credit: Ryanair

Ryanair CEO O’Leary Comments

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary criticized eDreams in his latest statement, saying: “eDreams has lied to and misled regulators.”

“While they scam and overcharge Italian consumers, they falsely claim they cannot survive without digitally pirating our website.”

“They can sign an ‘Approved OTA’ deal with us, but they refuse because their rotten business model relies on overcharging.”

O’Leary highlights that eDreams could become an “Approved OTA” by agreeing to fair pricing practices.

He questions why eDreams wouldn’t take this option, suggesting they prioritize inflated profits over consumer interests.


Ryanair’s accusations echo findings from their April “OTA Pirate” survey, which allegedly exposes deceptive practices by certain OTAs.

The airline urges eDreams to explain their refusal of the “Approved OTA” program and address consumer overcharging concerns.

Beyond the accusations, Ryanair’s dispute with eDreams raises wider questions about transparency and competition in the online travel market.

Consumers deserve clear pricing and a fair selection of options. Ryanair’s “Approved OTA” program offers a potential solution, but its success hinges on attracting enough reputable OTAs.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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