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April 18, 2024
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Ryanair has a business model that works well for itself. Any third party invariably runs into issues.  Given the airline is a ULLC, it doesn’t play well with others – and that’s fine, provided customers deal with the airline directly.

The need for third parties (like online travel agents or OTA) to book on the airline is evident, but we sympathize with the airline. Ryanair demonstrates why third-party bookings run into trouble. Like all airlines, Ryanair claims that booking directly offers the lowest fares.  There are several good reasons to avoid an online travel agency. But the counterargument is also compelling.  There are complaints about the airline’s approach.

Ryanair is also something of a “special case.”  Any search engine can help with this, but here’s the latest example as of this writing. The airline famously does not play well with others. Being the EU’s largest airline means Ryanair really does not have to care too much, either.

After the ongoing challenges, one OTA, Booking.com, removed Ryanair from its systems. Ryanair does not exist in a vacuum and recognized this would reduce some of its bookings.  The airline also noted the impact would not “materially affect” full-year numbers.  It appears the airline believes passengers will go directly to its website to secure fares. It would be a process of learning to switch away from OTAs.  That might be wishful thinking since travelers prefer buying a vacation package from one site at a time.

As expected, the lawyers got involved.  Ryanair sued an OTA last year.  Ryanair has lost some cases in the past. On the other hand, Ryanair also wins cases against state air for its competitors.  Ryanair is litigious and, fortunately, financially successful.

Then came the Booking.com decision, and since their traffic is significant, the impact hurt.  Rynaiar decided to sue Booking.com.  The link lists several senior managers on both sides being or needing to be deposed by opposing legal teams.

The latest twist is that Booking.com brought in an expert witness, an ex-White House National Security Council member and former FBI employee. Ryanair believes this person is unqualified.  It gets more interesting with each move.

Meanwhile, Ryanair’s CEO recently also took a shot at Boeing again.

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Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.

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