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Airline Cancels All Flights Booked Through Third-Party Systems 410

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the funny-if-it-weren't-so-stupid dept.
TechDirt is reporting that one airline is planning on canceling all flights booked through third-party systems. This isn't the first time that an airline has fought against the inevitable wave of easier-to-search third party websites, but certainly tops the stupid scale. "We were already confused enough by American Airlines' desire not to be listed on the sites where people search for airfare, and easyJet's plan to sue the sites that send it customers, but Irish-based airline Ryanair is taking this all to a new level. Beyond just being upset about those 3rd party sites (i.e., sites that send it business!), it's planning to cancel the flights for everyone who booked through one of those services."
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Airline Cancels All Flights Booked Through Third-Party Systems

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  • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Friday August 08, 2008 @05:32PM (#24532749)
    I didn't know that the airlines had hired away the managers of the major record labels. Did you guys hear about that?
  • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Friday August 08, 2008 @05:36PM (#24532787)
    Well, if that's the way they want it, it's their airline. I don't have to fly it...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 08, 2008 @05:38PM (#24532813)

      Well, if that's the way they want it, it's their airline. I don't have to fly it...

      From what I've heard of Ryanair, you wouldn't want to fly it anyway.

    • by pilgrim23 (716938) on Friday August 08, 2008 @05:46PM (#24532901)

      Ever thought what would happen if EVERYONE had that attitude about stupidity? Free Markets might spring up and people would get things done cheaper! Oh the Humanity!

      • by diamondsw (685967) on Friday August 08, 2008 @08:14PM (#24534035)

        Free markets rely on the myth of the well-informed consumer.

        Have you met the "average" consumer? I think my case is made...

        • by Irish_Samurai (224931) on Friday August 08, 2008 @08:31PM (#24534119)

          Free markets rely on the myth of the well-informed consumer.

          It's not a myth, it just doesn't meet your standard of well informed, which I am assuming is based around a data point of one (you).

          It is highly likely that the "average" consumer is only as informed as they feel they need to be to make a decision of how they spend their money. That is how the free market works. If a person feels, and the key word here is feels, that they have enough information to make a decision regarding the way they spend their money - they spend. That's it. Free market working. The more, or less, information you make available is not intrinsically attached to how educated a purchaser feels they are. There may be a correlation to how much data is available to how much research is done by a consumer, but it doesn't actually force anyone to do more research.

          Your statement kind of alludes that there is a standard definition of "well-informed". If that was true, consumers would (should) have to meet that standard pre-purchase, and that is the antithesis of free market.

          Not that I disagree with your assertion that the "average" consumer is ignorant to all of the implications and conditions of their purchases, but to extend that opinion to a reasoning that the free market fails is a flat out wrong.

          • by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Friday August 08, 2008 @09:07PM (#24534313)

            Free markets rely on the myth of the well-informed consumer.

            Correction, the myth of free markets leading to the efficency relies on, among other things, the myth of the well-informed consumer.

            If a person feels, and the key word here is feels, that they have enough information to make a decision regarding the way they spend their money - they spend. That's it. Free market working.

            The presence of trade in the short term does not disprove a market failure.

            There may be a correlation to how much data is available to how much research is done by a consumer, but it doesn't actually force anyone to do more research.

            Right, but the existence of tools to help correlate that data, especially free and easy ones, certainly increases the likelihood that consumers will.

            • by Irish_Samurai (224931) on Friday August 08, 2008 @09:36PM (#24534445)

              Heheh, you seem(are) enlightened. Nice. Let's discuss.

              Correction, the myth of free markets leading to the efficency relies on, among other things, the myth of the well-informed consumer.

              I'm not sure of the point you are trying to make here, so I am going to talk to my assumption, please correct me if I'm wrong.

              Logics aimed at the free market being a false ideal based on the existence, or lack of, of an "informed" consumer are somewhat fallacious. There is no such thing as a free market. ALL markets have regulations. The definition of an "informed" consumer is subjective to the item being purchased, the availability of information regarding said purchase type, and the actual culture of the purchasing entity. In purely economic terms, the culture element is barely recognized, but in a working definition - the observable behavior of the consumer is most definitely included in the definition of "informed".

              The presence of trade in the short term does not disprove a market failure.

              True. Most definitely true.

              Right, but the existence of tools to help correlate that data, especially free and easy ones, certainly increases the likelihood that consumers will.

              I have to vehemently disagree. It certainly increases the ability of the consumer to do research, but it doesn't mean they will. One of the cultural distortions I have noticed is that many people feel dumb when faced with the raw data they are given. They will actually STOP researching things once they feel they are out of their element. If you look at how specialized we have become as a whole (regarding employed function), people feel ignorant more often than not regarding consumer research. They know a lot about what it is they do, and fuck all about what they don't. People quit doing research once that research returns data they don't understand.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by retchdog (1319261)

                If you don't mind my jumping in here, this is interesting. I think it's implied that the (ideal?) "tools" will process the raw data in the right way for the consumer, thus presenting the results of "automatic research" by an algorithm which hopefully has, for this purpose, the same smarts as a mediocre economics BA who's taken intro stats (that's not a whole lot to ask is it? :) ).

                In the totally ideal situation, the price the consumer is willing to pay for access to the tool could provide a valuation of the

              • by BeanThere (28381) on Saturday August 09, 2008 @01:29PM (#24538625)

                I have to vehemently disagree. It certainly increases the ability of the consumer to do research, but it doesn't mean they will. One of the cultural distortions I have noticed is that many people feel dumb when faced with the raw data they are given. They will actually STOP researching things once they feel they are out of their element. If you look at how specialized we have become as a whole (regarding employed function), people feel ignorant more often than not regarding consumer research.

                But this does NOT mean that consumers necessarily remain uninformed, it just means that information on products (the conclusion of research) gains an intrinsic value of its own. And there are solutions to that, some free market, some not. For example, I'm shopping for a motorbike, but am at that "feel dumb" point you describe. So I've simply asked some mechanic friends (that I TRUST), and other friends who have lots of experience with motorbikes, for advice, e.g. what are good brands, what kinds of bikes are good for this or that type of purpose etc. Generally you can get a pretty good "feel" on where you're likely to go wrong and where not.

                The free market is working just fine. The only complaint seems to be by those who seem to think others are claiming it's perfect. "Perfect" decisions would be nice but "good enough" decisions usually work very well too.

                Free markets also aren't intended to be perfect or efficient. They're intended to be free as in liberty. Once you realise the goal is NOT to artificially engineer a supposedly "optimal system", a lot of other cogs fall into place.

  • by techno-vampire (666512) on Friday August 08, 2008 @05:37PM (#24532789) Homepage
    The way I see it, they have two choices. First, they can simply refuse to honor tickets bought through third-party sites. If so, they're asking for a great big class action suit by all the people who's money they accepted. Second, they can refund the money and simply refuse to do business through these sites. If that's the way they go (most likely) they're just asking for a revolt by the people who own their stock (and through that, of course, the business itself) for chasing away customers. I predict either a rapid backpedal on this or a change of manglement in short order.
    • by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Friday August 08, 2008 @05:48PM (#24532923) Homepage Journal

      True, this won't go well for them. And with fuel prices as they are, the airlines really don't need to be pointing guns at their own feet and telling Legal to pull the trigger. This move is nonsensical.

      Air travel is an industry where the pricing simply makes no sense. The person sitting next to you on a flight may have paid $500 more or less than you did, for no reason. The newfound ability to use aggregator sites to compare prices was the one thing that made it bearable to book flights. Airlines should accept that the market answered their customers' demands without their help.

      • by l2718 (514756) on Friday August 08, 2008 @06:53PM (#24533535)
        Are you really that clueless?

        The person sitting next to you on a flight may have paid $500 more or less than you did, for no reason [emph. added]

        In fact, they are paying a different price because they were willing to pay that price. That should be reason enough, but the situation is more fundamental. Imagine everyone on the plane had to pay the same price. Are you sure that there would be any price point which was profitable? Set it too low, and the plane would be full but the fares wouldn't cover costs. Too high, and you wouldn't have enough passengers. But a mix of passengers some paying more than others can be profitable.

        People who book early want to be sure of the flight, and will probably pay a bit more. People who book last-minute must travel and will pay more. People who search on priceline probably care more about prices than people who go to the airline's website and book the most convenient itinerary. This mix increases the airline of maximizing their profits, by charging each customer as much as they will pay. It also increases the chances that there will be a way for me to buy a ticket at a price I like. I don't think it's unfair that other people are willing to pay more than I am for a similar service -- it's their problem. I also don't care that some people will not pay the price I'm willing to pay. They are willing to put in more effort into finding a cheaper flight.

        Aggregator sites help reduce prices by facilitating comparisons. However, this has nothing to do with price discrimination, which the aggregators facilitate by giving the airlines another way to subdivide the market: people who search through the aggregator are quoted different prices than people who search on the airline's website, and both are quoted different prices than travel agents.

        • In fact, they are paying a different price because they were willing to pay that price. That should be reason enough, but the situation is more fundamental. Imagine everyone on the plane had to pay the same price. Are you sure that there would be any price point which was profitable?

          No kidding! That'd be like expecting to pay the same price as the person at the next table in a restaurant, or in line to buy a TV, or at a theater, or going to a football game. Just because they're getting the exact same service doesn't mean you should expect to pay the same! That's craziness and unlike anything else you spend your money on.

          • by lgw (121541) on Friday August 08, 2008 @07:35PM (#24533817) Journal

            If you rent, you might be surprised how much your neighbors pay- it might be $500 more or less each month, depending on what deals were available the week they moved in.

            Many companies have different tiers of pricing for the same product or service, based on how much they can gouge you. Airlines just don't put marketing spin on it.

    • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld.gmail@com> on Friday August 08, 2008 @05:49PM (#24532941)

      And being a reasonable human being, you only saw those two options. However, these dips are taking the third unmentioned option.

      They are refunding the WEBSITES directly and making it their problem to get the money back to the customer who bought the ticket. The stated goal of "We want to cause as much chaos for the [websites] as possible,"

      Unless this is the only airline servicing an area, I say it's time for them to suddenly find out how quickly their bottom line would drop if they just suddenly disappeared from said sites.

    • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday August 08, 2008 @05:53PM (#24532983)

      We don't have class action lawsuits over here. Ryanair would, however, potentially wind up the victims of an OFT investigation if they did anything on this scale that wasn't 110% above board. Ask the banks how that's working out for them right now, and you'll see what it could do to small fry like Ryanair.

      In any case, this sounds so unutterably stupid that either there's been a fundamental misunderstanding and all these comments are misreporting the situation, or you've got to question whether O'Leary has much of a future there...

  • Are they aware (Score:3, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Friday August 08, 2008 @05:37PM (#24532793) Homepage Journal
    that they are getting on the 'dont use' list for throngs of people worldwide ?

    STUPIIIIIDDDDDDD. way stupid.
  • perfect business (Score:5, Informative)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Friday August 08, 2008 @05:38PM (#24532801)

    We'd have ourselves a perfect business system if it wasn't for those pesky customers messing things up.

  • by timmarhy (659436) on Friday August 08, 2008 @05:38PM (#24532805)
    no doubt when they sober up, they will regret this.
  • by daveime (1253762) on Friday August 08, 2008 @05:40PM (#24532833)

    I can't work out why they'd want to block 3rd party bookings now, especially as they've recently been told they actually have to publish the REAL TOTAL price of the airfare on the first page instead of that whole "99 pence" crap (with 99 pounds in taxes and airport surcharges added on the final bill).

    You'd think they'd need all the help they could get. Still, they are Irish ... (dons his flameproof underwear ready for the inevitable politically correct flamers).

    • by HappySmileMan (1088123) on Friday August 08, 2008 @06:04PM (#24533067)

      You'd think they'd need all the help they could get. Still, they are Irish ... (dons his flameproof underwear ready for the inevitable politically correct flamers).

      That's probably true, but it won't be us (the Irish) modding you down, we'll all be drunkenly laughing at your comments, blame the racist mods who think the Irish can't take a joke.

  • by Simon (S2) (600188) on Friday August 08, 2008 @05:41PM (#24532845) Homepage

    "The real issue here in our view is that Ryanair is concerned about losing out on the sale of other services such as travel insurance, hotels, car hire and to stop this they want to prevent consumers from using comparison websites"
    I think they have a point. Maybe not a good one, but who are we to decide for them? They want customers to buy Ryanair Tickets from the Ryanair Website, and it's their right to "enforce" this IMHO. Cancelling the bookings may piss of some users, but it makes their point.
    I think this is a bit like direct linking an image from a website, when the creator explicitly asked not to do it.
    And on top of it lastminute.com, v-tours, tui and Opodo usually charge more for the Tickets than what they would normally cost: "Mr O'Leary also stressed that passengers were "getting stiffed" by these websites as their prices were invariably higher than those available on ryanair.com".

    • by Ambiguous Puzuma (1134017) on Friday August 08, 2008 @05:48PM (#24532917)

      Deciding to no longer allow ticket sales through third parties is one thing (though I would still argue it is a bad move). But how can they get away with not honoring tickets already sold?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        But how can they get away with not honoring tickets already sold?

        Probably because the third parties in question didn't have authorization to sell them. If they had to scrape the site, I'm guessing they didn't have permission.

    • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday August 08, 2008 @06:01PM (#24533047)

      Cancelling the bookings may piss of some users, but it makes their point.

      Not accepting new bookings is entirely up to them, of course.

      However, cancelling existing bookings that have already been agreed is unethical. I can't see how it's not illegal on several counts, too: if money has changed hands, then a contract exists, and I wouldn't want to rely on any weasel words saying "we can arbitrarily cancel our side of the bargain without notice" holding up when disgruntled ex-customers start bringing legal actions to recover the cost of wasted hotel reservations, onward flights and the like. Even if the customers go after the third party booking sites that they personally have contracts with, those sites in turn are presumably going to hit Ryanair to recover the damages.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 08, 2008 @06:05PM (#24533069)

      But if, like me, your credit card is an Egg Card you can't book directly on the Ryanair website. Egg are not accepting transactions from Ryanair because Ryanair's security is so bad.

      Not that it really matters. By the time you've paid all their hidden charges (e.g. for checking in!) Ryanair aren't much cheaper than anyone else and their service is truly abysmal. I won't be flying with them again.

    • by jacquesm (154384) <j@w[ ]om ['w.c' in gap]> on Friday August 08, 2008 @06:05PM (#24533071) Homepage

      they're in the business of flying airplanes. Where I get the rest of my services is up to me.

      Also, if they'd just do a cost+30 model or something like that where all seats cost the same (instead of selling some for up to 50% more or less on the same flight, same service) then sites like these wouldn't be given such a huge hole to step in to.

      The airlines create these situations themselves.

    • by EdIII (1114411) * on Friday August 08, 2008 @06:11PM (#24533137)

      "The real issue here in our view is that Ryanair is concerned about losing out on the sale of other services such as travel insurance, hotels, car hire and to stop this they want to prevent consumers from using comparison websites"

      That was NOT Ryanair's position. That was an opinion by the Consumer's Association. Other than that I can understand your position of supporting them.

      The real issue here is that ALL the other websites offer prices higher than Ryanair's own website. In a very real sense, Ryanair is protecting all of it's potential customers from being ripped off. Some may say that on the other hand it affects legitimate travel agents from servicing their clients. That is not true either, since a travel agent could book directly with Ryanair.

      Another serious problem is that the other websites are using a shady process called screen scraping to use Ryanair's own website to book the flights. It abuses the companies webservers and bandwidth which could be a pretty good reason to stop the websites as well.

      Now they may be within their rights to do this, but it is still not very smart. Ryanair cannot protect all the idiots of the world. If those people are determined to not use common sense and check Ryanair's website beforehand for a price comparison, then maybe they deserve what they get.

      So Ryanair finally pulled out the WMD on all the websites, but in doing so it may have ultimately harmed itself more than it expected.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 08, 2008 @05:42PM (#24532857)

    Them not being listed on 3rd party sites would be doing people a favour - otherwise you might accidentally book a flight with them or something. And you will not like it. You'll likely end up 50 miles away from your real destination at some godforsaken nowhere airport, and any money you "saved" with the cheap flight will be gone on road or train transport to your real destination. That or your baggage fees (ryanair often has a baggage allowance of 0. ALL baggage is therefore charged as excess baggage.).

    If you must fly with an Irish airline for whatever reason (you're going to Ireland, say...), try Aer Lingus [aerlingus.com] or Aer Arann [aerarann.com]. They're often similarly cheap, and far less incompetent. At least until/unless Ryanair buys them and fucks them up.

    With other airlines, you might even get assigned seating in advance!

  • by thatseattleguy (897282) on Friday August 08, 2008 @05:48PM (#24532927) Homepage
    Of course, it could all just be a stunt to get attention and further a reputation as a Bad Boy Airline.

    Remember, this is the outfit that promoted its Business Class service with a You Tube video entitled "Beds and Blowjobs": here's the official RyanAir press release from June '08 [ryanair.com] (work safe)

  • by mattbee (17533) <matthew@bytemark.co.uk> on Friday August 08, 2008 @05:48PM (#24532929) Homepage

    I'd heard that a lot of these 3rd party booking sites weren't using any sanctioned API, but scraping the airline's own retail sites for fares and proxying customers' credit card details etc. for making bookings, then charging a premium for the flight. By cancelling these fares the airlines are rocking confidence in comparison sites, and obviously pushing some business away, but I don't think they're opening themselves to lawsuits since customers didn't book with them direct. Only the booking sites might have a case against them, and that seems unlikely given the hoops they had to jump through to make the booking in the first place!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by John Hasler (414242)

      > ...customers didn't book with them direct...

      The customers might be able to make a case that the sites were acting as their agents.

  • by Graff (532189) on Friday August 08, 2008 @05:53PM (#24532977)

    After clicking past the blog speedbump to the actual article [independent.ie] I can see why the airline is doing this. The airline has their own website which handles the booking and also ties in other services like hotels, car rentals, insurance, and so on. These third party websites aren't going through an established booking system, instead they are screen scraping and acting as a front-end to the airline's website. This would be like a third party mirroring Slashdot's stories without Slashdot's advertisements, costing Slashdot revenue.

    Using the airline's website in this manner is not only illegal but it also causes a lot of slowdowns and other problems for the people who actually go to the airline's website.

    Now the airline is punishing the wrong people by canceling all the bookings done through the third parties. The right thing to do would be to allow the passengers to keep their bookings, but then sue the third party website. Yes, canceling the booking will cause more trouble for the third party sites but it will also mess up the customers and give them a bad impression of the airline, also hurting their business.

    Maybe the easiest thing to do is to have some sort of partner network where they provide access to their booking system for the third parties for a fee while they mess up the screen scrapers with technology and lawsuits. This would make their booking system more accessible while providing a side revenue stream for people who don't use the airline's website and all the extra money makers on there.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 08, 2008 @06:06PM (#24533073)

    I personally love the true capitalistic cut-throat cunning that RyanAir has employed to keep costs low and profits high.
    -- They modeled Southwests early success, but stayed much more true to mission as a budget carrier.
    --They intentionally use stairs to the tarmac at the plane's doors in Dublin to save on maintenance (and surreptitiously discourage disabled people from flying with them to shorten the amount of time the plane is on the ground).
    --They have brand-spanking new planes that were purchases shortly after 9-11 at pennies on the dollar because Boeing was fearing utter calamity.
    --They make a ton of money from people buying early for nothing tickets and then not showing up.
    --They are militantly union-busting and have fired striking workers before, and will do it again.

    Basically in American terms, they are the WalMart of travel -- they have revolutionized European air travel and made it much more accessible to the average person. Their customers realise it's completely no-frills. I personally find the little jingle that plays when disembarking to be the funniest.

  • ... and they ain't coming back.

    Disclaimer: I work for an airport.

    In the opinion of most people that work in commercial aviation, the airline business is in the middle of a huge contraction and consolidation. Fuel costs aren't the reason, they're just the latest body blow in a series of punches that is destroying air travel as you know it.

    First off, improving communicatins technology began lessening the need for business air travel in the late 90's. And business travel has always been the lifeblood of the airline industry, it's driving force on a day to day basis. Then September 11th happened. People were scared to fly, they hated the new security measures, and just decided they'd rather drive, thanks. Then came fuel prices.

    The US airline industry is undergoing the same fate as the rail industry after WW II, and the military aviation sector after the Cold War ended. A combination of forces is radically shrinking it. Just as there's one passenger rail service now (AmTrak, and subsidized at that), just as there are now only two major airframe builders left in the US (Boeing and Lockheed-Martin), there will probably be, within ten years, only a few passenger airlines left in the US. Delta is already consuming Northwest, and word in the industry is that US Airways is already putting feelers out to Delta; "Hey, buy us out too". Most airports have something of an airline deadpool going. The people I work with are in agreement that we'll probably end up with no more than three major passenger airlines in the US when all is said and done. The biggest air carriers in the world have already changed from passenger companies to freight companies. FedEx and UPS already far outstrip the top US passenger line, Delta, in terms of fleet size, traffic, and numbers of flights. That's only going to accelerate in the future.

    More people are going to take "staycations" in the future. If gas prices keep going down, they'll start driving for vacations more, but the heyday of passenger service is done, and it's not coming back. More and more businesses will do their routine "business travel" via teleconferencing. Many smaller airports will either go to skeleton crews to cut costs or just close outright as airlines stop serving them. Even if you brought back massive regulation (and the extra costs that come with it), nothing is going to stop this process. As better and cheaper business broadband becomes more widely available, the paring back of business travel will only accelerate. It'll never completely disappear, but its definitely downsizing, if you will.

    • by BitterOldGUy (1330491) on Friday August 08, 2008 @06:32PM (#24533355)
      In grad school, I had a classmate that was in operations at Delta. He thought it would good for Delta to go bankrupt because it's business model was from the 70s and the regulation - that whole hub and spoke nonsense. The new airlines were able to start fresh and away from that model.

      The other thing is that private jet sales are increasing yearly. CEOs, mostly, are buying them up at shareholder's expense so they won't have to wait for security and fly with us regular people. Boeing actually has a 737 based "business" jet that has a hot tub. It's good to be King (CEO).

      And some companies actually send their regular employees on the corp jet because it's just so much more efficient and reliable than commercial jets.

      I think your right. Commercial flying is dead as we know it. I for one, will drive anywhere that takes less than 8 hours in a car. When you think about it: 1 hour to the airport, 2 hours security, 1 hour flight time to anywhere (assuming they're actually on time), and then another hour to where you want to be. That's five hours. For an extra 3 hours: I save hundred of dollars; I can use any fucking electronic device I want; I can say "bomb", "mom", "terrorist", etc..; I don't have some snot serving me water who thinks she's been made in flight goddess because of 9/11 and I better not question her authoritay!; I have plenty of elbow room; I don't have to wait in line to pee - just get off the highway; and it goes on and on. ...

  • by Itninja (937614) on Friday August 08, 2008 @06:08PM (#24533105) Homepage
    When a business is run in 'negative profit' mode (Ryanair, like most airlines, loses money on nearly every flight) the logic of business changes. They are no longer interested in making money, but in minimizing how much they will lose. It's kind of like someone who uses bankruptcy as a financial planning tool. They know full well that they are going to file for bankruptcy every 10 years, so than manage their money accordingly.
  • by slarrg (931336) on Friday August 08, 2008 @06:23PM (#24533261)

    Airlines have been decreasing the services to their customers: Overcrowding planes, ever smaller seats, less leg room, fewer in-flight amenities, increased overbooking, ever more delayed flights and a myriad of new fees.

    In addition, the TSA has made air travel more cumbersome with security theater (remove your shoes, don't bring liquids, etc.) with unspecified policies so that you never know if the policies in place when you fly somewhere will be the same policies in place for your return trip. For example, I know I would have been very upset if I travelled to London before the big liquid scare and had to put my laptop in the belly of the beast with the baggage gorillas when I returned.

    In addition, the airlines also implemented a pricing policy for their tickets to try to maximize the price charged for each passenger. The whole "why sell a ticket for $200 if the customer would be willing to pay $500" philosophy. So customers began using services that would help them decrease their ticket prices because the airlines would overcharge them if at all possible. So now the airlines are offering the minimum service possible and are surprised that passengers want to pay the minimum amount possible for this service. When you abuse your customers for your own financial gain, the customers will lose respect for your company and when they have the power to stop feeding your greed they will do so. Once this happens, getting these customers to business with you again will be incredibly costly and may very well bankrupt the company. This is true for airlines and will also be true for phone companies, ISPs, Microsoft and the music industry. Ultimately, customers will punish usurious greed, it just may take them a while to have the power to do so.

  • by Whuffo (1043790) on Friday August 08, 2008 @06:28PM (#24533317) Homepage Journal
    There's been a flood of "aggregators" lately. They don't have anything of their own to offer, they just pull information from others and present it.

    Is this a good thing? I'm starting to think it's not. All this seems to be is just another set of middlemen pulling profit from other people's transactions.

    But is Ryanair doing good by canceling tickets? Absolutely not. The customers bought tickets to travel Ryanair on good faith. If Ryanair doesn't like the aggregators, then they could bar future transactions. But by canceling transactions that were already made they've moved into lawsuit territory. If they want not to be included on the various airfare comparison sites then that's their right.

    But punishing their customers for something that they didn't do - that's just plain evil. Ryanair executives should pay for this one...

  • Thats not all! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BigBadBus (653823) on Friday August 08, 2008 @06:29PM (#24533319) Homepage
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3443739.stm [bbc.co.uk] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6087016.stm [bbc.co.uk] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cambridgeshire/4910134.stm [bbc.co.uk] ...and I recall a case, which I can't find, where passengers were unloaded from an aircraft because they were disabled. Lets help bring these cowboys down!
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday August 08, 2008 @06:54PM (#24533541)

    Maybe there is more to the story.

    Based on their response to the absurd goverment mandated security policies [ryanair.com] they obviously have someone working there with more than half a brain.

  • Ryanair is a budget airline that makes little on each ticket and makes up for that by a couple of methods. one is of course volume but other very important methods are add on sales like car rentals, hotels, money changing, travel credit cards, travel insurance, etc.

    Everyone seems to be thinking that these 3rd party bookings help ryanair, when they actually hurt them by removing the possibility of add on sales. this is not some american airline that makes(or tries to) their money almost entirely on ticket sales. Ryanair is much more like a gas station, they make little on gas but rake in their cash on soda and chip sales.

    just some food for thought.

  • by GrahamCox (741991) on Friday August 08, 2008 @08:05PM (#24533981) Homepage
    Somewhat tangential to the story, but the two worst flights of my life were on RyanAir. The first, to Turin, involved a barely controlled crash-landing where everyone was amazed that the tail didn't snap off. The sense of relief when we realised we were all still alive was palpable. The steward actually used that old joke: "Welcome to Turin. The captain will now taxi what's left of the aircraft to the terminal for disembarkation" - only the obvious shakiness in her voice meant that nobody laughed.

    The return flight was almost as bad. The flight was overloaded due to an earlier flight being cancelled, and the replacement plane was a series-100 737 with the old turbojet engines and not the modern -600 series with the CFM engines. The plane was filled to capacity and because it was mostly skiers returning from a winter break, the luggage hold was full of skis and heavy clothing and so on. Basically I'm pretty sure that the plane was at or over MTW as it took an age to get off the runway, and then had to circle the airport for about 45 minutes to gain enough height to get over the Alps. I kept looking out of the window and just not seeing the ground getting any further away - we seemed to be at about 2000ft for ages, so given the previous landing experience I really felt quite nervous for the first time ever when flying. I'd recently qualified for my PPL so I had some knowledge of what was going on - maybe too much for comfort. The landing was bad also, with a manual approach flown by an apparently rookie pilot - the throttle was up, down, up, down, up, down and constantly jinking left and right and pitching up and down - obviously having trouble maintaining the ILS. In the end gave up and did a go-around which added another half an hour due to the very poor climb performance. The second approach was smooth as - must have decided to switch on the autopilot. Even when a go-around and/or a manual approach are standard OP, passengers do get nervous because it doesn't "feel normal". And anxiety is contagious, so once again after landing there was an obvious sense of relief. Since then I have avoided flying with RyanAir - any airline that packs them in that tight and then treats a fare-paying flight as a training exercise for its junior pilots isn't really treating the customer with respect.
  • by Animats (122034) on Friday August 08, 2008 @08:40PM (#24534171) Homepage

    Emirates has just upgraded their first class service, with private suites [emirates.com] and showers on board. [emirates.com] They fly to about 100 cities, connecting the world to Dubai. They have all the business cities on the way up, like Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, Guangzhou, Moscow, and Nagoya. This is part of Dubai's plan to become the center of the financial world.

    This isn't a Government-funded expansion plan. Emirates is profitable.

  • by BanjoBob (686644) on Friday August 08, 2008 @10:17PM (#24534683) Homepage Journal

    I still use travel agents. I've tried Expedia, Cheap Tickets, etc. and they can really get you into a mess. One flight, Denver-Chicago-Dusseldor-Kiev had us with 10 minute flight changes! If one flight were 1 minute late, we'd have been screwed even if the departing flight was at the adjacent gate! There is no way to make some of the schedules these single web sites setup.

    Then, they tell you they have flights ranging in price from some low value to God knows what. Try and get the low priced flight. It doesn't exist. OK, try and get economy to Chicago but Business over the water for the long duration. You can't do it.

    So, I tell my agent that I want such-and-such airline because I have frequent flyer cards with them. I want economy to Chicago but Business to Europe. I want a minimum of 2 hours but no more than 4 between flights and, the fewest number of flights possible.

    In almost every case, she can get me what I want at a LOWER price than the net services! The best part is I don't have to spend hours on the web comparing this to that and getting frustrated. I give her a phone call, she gives me 3 or 4 options and I say OK. It's that simple and usually cheaper too. Besides, she knows my food and seating preferences for all my international flights.

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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