Ryanair has called on Google to tackle ‘screenscraper’ sites such as Edreams which the airline claims is purposely misleading customers resulting in hidden charges for passengers.
The Irish carrier said certain websites have been paying for Google advertising to have their websites rank above the official Ryanair site on searches.
It claims this is misleading customers into visiting websites such as Edreams, “masquerading” as Ryanair.com.
A spokesperson for eDreams said it was entitled to sell Ryanair tickets and to use Google’s AdWords to promote its flight booking services, adding: “Ryanair has been trying, without success, to prevent online travel agencies selling its tickets for the last ten years, and they are now invoking new, ill-founded grievances.”
Ryanair has been engaged in several legal cases against screenscraper websites across Europe to prevent its customers from being “subjected to additional, hidden charges” and to ensure it has the customer’s details.
The budget airline said many of these websites cause problems for passengers with issues such as flight changes, web check-in, special needs assistance and contact details.
Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs called on Google to change its practices. He said: “Customers end up paying more and with complications down the line, it’s overall a bad experience, and we think Google can do better than that.
“We get the booking, so it’s not materially damaging our business, but it is causing our customers problems. This will have to come to an end. Ryanair used to be the bad guys. But while Google are taking money from them for advertising, Google has a responsibility. They talk the talk on trust and transparency but now’s the time to walk the walk.”
The court of Hamburg recently ruled that Edreams has been using an unlawful subdomain and was misleading customers into thinking that it had an official partnership with Ryanair.