In an industry first, the Spanish commercial court has ruled in favor of Irish airline Ryanair in its case against online travel agency (OTA) Kiwi.
The court has rejected an injunction by the travel agency to suspend the carrier’s verification procedures for passengers whose bookings are made by OTAs.
Ryanair insisted that the extra steps are vital since OTAs frequently provide inaccurate passenger information, a point the judge agreed with. This validates the airline’s claims that many OTAs deliberately advertise “discounted fares” only to tack on hidden price mark-ups later, such as payments for luggage and airport check-ins.
“Ryanair does not have a commercial relationship with Kiwi, and we strongly object to Kiwi selling our flights,” the budget airline’s marketing, digital, and communications chief Dara Brady commented.
Kiwi, in response, criticized Ryanair’s new verification process as an excessive and invasive collection of personal information, followed by charging consumers fees at the airport, sometimes more than the cost of the flight itself.
“While it is disappointing that there will not be an immediate suspension of this so-called ‘verification,’ we trust that the final decision will remove Ryanair’s new verification process and restore our customers’ position of having freedom of choice, which this unilateral action is seeking to erode,” the OTA added.