Ryanair suspends packages web booking service

European low-cost carrier Ryanair has temporarily closed its Ryanair Holidays service, just over a month since it launched.

A message on the channel says the platform has been suspended “because of illegal screenscraping and mis-selling of Ryanair flights by the technology provider”.

Tour operator Logitravel and accommodation service World2Meet were named at the launch as the backbone behind the new Ryanair Holidays service.

The pair would initially create packages for Ryanair passengers in the UK, Ireland and Germany, with other markets to follow in 2017.

The airline claimed the addition of the new Holidays service would be another step “on our journey to becoming the Amazon of air travel”.

The airline says all existing bookings made by passenger will be honoured and that it expects to have a replacement service available by the end of February.

In a statement, Ryanair says the agreement was terminated with the software provider after it “was found to be unlawfully scraping Ryanair’s low fares”.

“Ryanair apologises to its customers for any inconvenience caused but re-emphasized that it will not allow any 3rd party software provider to ‘screen-scrape’ and unlawfully re-sell Ryanair’s low fares.”

LogiTravel and World2Meet have yet to respond to requests for comment.

The packages were expected to be built out from accommodation via the two providers and on flights around the Ryanair network.

These were positioned as both packages (all ATOL-bonded and insured) for long-stay holidays and city breaks.

The move followed the relaunch of the airline’s accommodation-only service, Ryanair Rooms, which started up again in October this year through Expedia Inc-owned Hotels.com and Hotelopia, the consume-facing wing of Hotelbeds.

In an interview with Tnooz in October last year, marketing director Kenny Jacobs said:

“You’re seeing all of these digital businesses which are de-bundling the package holiday as we know it.

“There are a few exceptions: Some Germans will still walk to the high-street travel agent and buy the classic two-week holiday. And in Scandinavia there has been more of a tendency for package holidays….

“But the UK and Ireland are more like the American market, where people choose to package their own holidays.”

Ryanair was, therefore, focusing its own digital strategy on encouraging more of this mix-and-match holidays planning.

“In the Ryanair platform, what we’re doing with Ryanair rules is that we have all options available. Most of the vast majority of our customers will still buy the flight, and then buy a different type of accommodation….

“Because people want to choose five-star hotels in some cases, or the same person may want to stay in a campsite another time of year. So we’ll provide the choice that will fit certain European markets.”

Ryanair has fought a long-running battle with so-called screen-scrapers, most notably eDreams which it is trying to face down in the Irish courts alongside Google.

It also recently cut off travel search site Momondo after an alleged breach of contract.

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