The days of travel agents selling flights without agreement from airlines could be numbered thanks to a technology expert who advises Ryanair.
The practice known as screen-scraping, which lifts fares direct from carriers’ websites, has been fundamental to the dynamic packaging model of some agents.
Darran Thomas, who will give evidence for Ryanair this year in a landmark court case in Dublin, has established Data Portcullis, a technology company with a new way of blocking agents.
Thomas said airlines lose money to screen‑scrapers and face service issues, adding: “The airline does not get customer details so cannot contact them when something goes wrong and passengers blame the airline.
“The court case and Data Portcullis are potentially very threatening to all forms of screen-scraping.”
Ryanair successfully argued last year that jurisdiction over allegations that agents are breaching its intellectual property rights rests in Ireland.
Manchester-based On The Beach or Irish agent Budget Travel could be the first agent to be sued in an Irish court.
To date, technical approaches to blocking screen-scraping have proved ineffective. Ryanair has sued agents in their countries of origin in Spain, Germany and Italy. It has won some cases, but a favourable decision in Dublin, where it is based, would set a precedent.
Data Portcullis uses 40 ‘tests’ to ascertain if a website visitor is genuine, making it extremely difficult for fake customers, said Thomas.
He presented the system to Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary in February and has attracted interest from easyJet.
Data Portcullis beat eight other start-ups at last week’s Travel Technology Europe show to be named the most potentially disruptive.
This is a community-moderated forum.
All post are the individual views of the respective commenter and are not the expressed views of Travel Weekly.
By posting your comments you agree to accept our Terms & Conditions.