‘Historic’ high court ruling bans screenscraper from taking flight data from Ryanair website

‘Historic’ high court ruling bans screenscraper from taking flight data from Ryanair website

RYANAIR has welcomed a judgement by the high court in Ireland banning an online screenscraper from taking flight information from their website.

The Irish High Court has granted a permanent injunction banning screenscraper Flightbox from publishing flight information taken from the no-frills airline's site.

The judgement confirmed that the practice was in breach of Ryanair’s terms of use, which prohibits online travel agents (OTAs) from using bot technology to scrape their website for flight schedules and availability.

“Ryanair has long campaigned to protect customers from price gouging by OTAs who continue to dupe unsuspecting consumers by unlawfully scraping Ryanair’s website, including by overcharging for air fares and ancillary services, using fake customer accounts, fake customer payment cards and fake customer emails,” Ryanair explained.

They added: “This can be hugely detrimental to customers who, apart from being overcharged, cannot access their Ryanair bookings, make the necessary security declarations, access refunds, or receive direct email communications (such as online check-in reminders) from Ryanair.”

Deemed ‘historic and precedent-setting’ by the Irish airline, the court ruling is set to further Ryanair’s mission to only deal directly with its customers.

The firm does not permit travel agents to sell its flights.

Ryanair’s Dara Brady said: “We welcome this High Court ruling which established that this screenscraper is bound by the Terms of Use of the Ryanair website, which prohibits screenscraping.

“Ryanair has been granted a permanent injunction to stop this unlawful screencraping of Ryanair’s data in breach of Ryanair’s terms of use.

“The Ryanair website is the only website authorised to sell Ryanair flights.”

He added: “OTAs have for years relied upon screenscrapers such as Flightbox, fake customer accounts, single-use payment cards and fake customer email addresses to make bookings on Ryanair’s website in breach of the Terms of Use.

“This can cause huge inconvenience and expense to customers as often OTAs not only overcharge for fares, bags and seats, but they also block customers from managing their bookings or receiving important flight updates from Ryanair (such as online check-in reminders).

Mr Brady added: “This historic High Court ruling has reinforced Ryanair’s determination to pursue justice for our customers to ensure they get access to the lowest fares, cannot be overcharged by OTAs, and that they have direct access to manage their bookings and to receive up to date flight information.

“Ryanair does not have a commercial relationship with any OTA or screenscraper and we strongly object to OTAs mis-selling our flights and overcharging consumers."