Passengers planning flights on Ryanair have been advised to book directly through the company’s own website or app to avoid the risk of “anti-consumer practices by certain online travel agents”.
According to the low-cost airline – one of the main companies operating out of Corvera Airport Murcia – customers have reported a “bogus discount scam” that encourages them to purchase “discounted” flights through an online travel agent (OTA) with no affiliation to Ryanair. The OTA allegedly uses the customer’s payment details to secure their flight booking, before storing them for fraudulent use at a later date.
In response, said Brady, Ryanair launched “Verified Seal” on its website and app earlier this year “to help customers avoid the pitfalls of booking with online travel agents, who often overcharge and may provide incorrect customer information which prevents Ryanair from dealing directly with its passengers”.
This was launched in conjunction with the “Price Checker” tool, “in an effort to bring to light the unnecessary mark-ups that online travel agents are charging customers”. Brady said Ryanair would continue to raise awareness around issues associated with OTAs “to protect customers from these unlawful practices” and ensure they can “access the lowest fares and direct customer care”.
Launched in April, Ryanair’s “Price Checker” has been used by more than 50,000 customers to date, allowing them to compare how much they paid to an OTA versus what Ryanair received for the booking.
According to Ryanair, “The OTA business model operates by applying mark-ups to flights and flight products, which means that customers can pay up to 40 per cent more for the same offerings than if they had booked directly on the Ryanair website or app.
“In addition to overcharging customers, OTAs may also block Ryanair from receiving essential customer contact and payment details by providing Ryanair with fake email addresses and virtual credit cards to complete bookings.”
Free travel insurance for COVID-incurred and other medical costs is being offered to international tourists visiting the Murcia region.