Ryanair urges Google to enforce greater transparency following customer complaints

Irish low fares airline Ryanair has urged Google to enforce greater transparency on its online advertising following extensive complaints from Ryanair customers who have been misled into booking Ryanair flights on non-Ryanair websites, purposely designed to mislead customers.

According to the airline, screenscraper websites such as eDreams have been paying for Google advertising to have their websites rank above the official Ryanair website on Google searches, which Ryanair claims is misleading Ryanair customers into visiting the eDreams website, masquerading as Ryanair.com, and booking with eDreams.

Ryanair also urged customers to book directly on Ryanair.com and called on Google to enforce greater transparency on its advertising rules, to prevent European customers being misled and overcharged.

Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said: ‘As Europe’s largest airline, Ryanair has received numerous complaints from our customers who have inadvertently purchased Ryanair flights on the eDreams website, as a direct result of the misleading advertising provided by Google. EDreams has been unlawfully selling Ryanair flights, by masquerading as Ryanair.com, and then offering customers a substandard service, with additional fees, or by often selling fares that don’t even exist. While we have no issue with Google advertising in general, it is unfair that it is used as a mechanism to mislead customers.

Customers end up paying more for their flights, thinking they’ve bought Ryanair flights with Ryanair, and often their contact details aren’t passed on, meaning they can’t be contacted if their flight changes, and they also have trouble checking-in online. This is a particular problem for customers in the UK and Ireland.

Ryanair will continue to pursue screenscraper websites such as eDreams to prevent Europe’s consumers from being misled over price and booking conditions. We would again urge customers to book directly on the Ryanair.com website to guarantee the lowest fares and best customer service. In the meantime, we call on Google to enforce greater transparency of its advertising to prevent any more customers from being misled and overcharged.’

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 Ryanair has appropriate contact details to communicate with its customers. 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, the airline said.

Ryanair busiest airline, IATA report

Ryanair, the Ireland-based low fares airline, has claimed that the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) report confirms that it remains the world’s favourite airline.

According to IATA’s latest World Airline Transport Statistics, Ryanair carried more international passengers than any other airline. The Irish budget airline carried 81.3m international passengers last year, almost 29m more than second-placed Easyjet (52.7m) and 30m more than third-placed Lufthansa (50.7m).

According to the IATA statistics, Ryanair carried more international passengers than: EasyJet, Iberia and SAS combined (< 76m); British Airways, Air France and Alitalia combined (< 77m); Lufthansa and Air Berlin combined (< 74m) and over eight times more passengers than Irish regional carrier Aer Lingus (9.6m).

Meanwhile, Ryanair said that it will carry more than 84.6m passengers this year. The airline also celebrated its position by releasing 100, 000 seats for sale across its European network, at prices starting from EUR19.99 for travel in July & August. These low fare seats are available for booking on the Ryanair.com website until midnight Thursday (12 June).

Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said: ‘IATA has once again confirmed that Ryanair is the world’s favourite airline, carrying more international scheduled passengers than any other carrier. Even the combined traffic of EasyJet, Iberia and SAS is still less than Ryanair’s total traffic.

Consumers choose Ryanair for our lowest fares, great routes choice and our improving customer experience, including our new website, allocated seating, a free 2nd small carry-on bag allowance and PED (portable electric device) use on all flights, as Ryanair continues to deliver so much more than just the lowest fares for our 81.3m customers.’

The Irish airline, which was in the news last year for poor customer service and treatment, said earlier this year that its customer improvement initiatives including its low fares offer have proved effective as the airline carried record numbers of customers since last December.

 

Prices slashed at hotels across Europe

If your thinking of taking a trip to Europe, now is a great time to go.

Research has revealed that hotel prices have dropped by almost 50 per cent since last year. 

The study by TripAdvisor showed that an average nights stay in locations across Europe have seen prices drop dramatically from last year as the Eurozone continues to struggle. 

Popular cities including Rome, Barcelona and Lisbon have seen hotel prices plummet. 

Hotel rates in wallet-friendly Albufeira in Portugal have seen a drop from around £82 a night to £47 for a good nights sleep – a 42 per cent drop. 

Even popular tourist spot Arles in France which boasts impressive Roman monuments – has seen a drop in hotel prices from around £83 to £55, 34 per cent. 

TripAdvisor spokesperson Emma Shaw says: ‘It has been an economically-troubled year for much of Europe, particularly for the Eurozone countries, and we are seeing that hotels are dropping their prices in some very well-known tourist destinations. 

‘For travellers looking for value for money, this is clearly good news. And with deals to be had in many destinations across Europe,  2012 looks like a good year for the short-haul holiday.’

You say what you pay at 5 Star B&B

A five star bed and breakfast in Brockenhurst is offering its guests an unusual way of settling their bill. Echoing the vastly popular Channel 4 programme ‘Four in a Bed’, the Hampshire guesthouse allows their lodgers to only pay what they feel is a fair figure for their room. The decided sum is a reflection on the standard of the rooms, quality customer experience and the overall stay at this establishment.

So if your pillow is a little on the lumpy side, or the shower is still luke-warm after fiddling with the knobs for a few minutes, feel free to knock off a couple of quid. The hotel named the ‘Cottage Lodge’ is presenting this profit pending deal every night of the month, with the exception of Friday and Saturday nights.

The bed and breakfast’s safety net however, seems to be the fixed rate of £9 for breakfast, which stands whether the offer is on or not. The confident and plucky owner Christina Simons was quoted: ‘We are placing our trust in the consumer to give us the ultimate feedback. If you are a fan of the TV programme ‘Four in a Bed’ then this is the perfect opportunity to have a go at staying overnight and pay what you think the room is worth’.

The Cottage Lodge is certain they can deliver all guests a flawless and faultless stay which is arguably an attractive offer for those who felt a night in Premier Inn didn’t quite stack up. So, for a sparkling bathroom, pristine bedding, modern décor and top notch service, why not visit this quirky bed and breakfast where you can pick the price.

Article by Emma Boyle

Spain still the cheapest place to holiday

A new poll commissioned by Post Office Travel Money has shown that holidays to Spain are the most affordable for holidaymakers, with a typical basket of holiday essentials, such as food, drink and sun protection costing 42.15 pounds Sterling, much less than it would have cost in other popular holiday destinations in Europe and beyond. The survey, which was undertaken in 14 counties around the world, revealed that the pound is worth so much more than it was last year. So with the pound stretching further in Spain, it should be at the top of the list for holidaymakers who want to save as much money as possible, say ulookubook.com.

Ian Raine, ulookubook.com, comments: “While the cost of ten holiday essentials in Spain may seem a little expensive, it is relatively cheap when compared to the cost of the same items in other destinations, as the same items would cost 92.81 pounds in Miami Beach, and 77.01 pounds in Brighton. This is a huge reduction in price compared to the other examples, and it shows that even the most cost conscious traveller can easily budget for a holiday to Spain.”

According to the survey, the price of a basket of goods, which includes food, cigarettes alcohol and sunscreen in Spain is now 15% less than last year’s most popular holiday destination, Portugal. In fact, other popular destinations in Europe were among some of the most expensive, with the same items bought in France costing 81.48 pounds. Prices in Spain have stayed at the same level since 2010, when they were 36% lower than in 2007, and in Europe, the same amount of holiday cash will buy the same amount of Euros as it did last year, with 1 pound getting around 1.06 Euros, which is all the more reason to look for the cheapest holidays to spain.

Raine continues: “The pound is particularly strong this year, and the Post Office Travel Money survey shows that travellers will be able to get a lot more for their money this year, particularly in Europe, where prices have been slashed considerably. However, while many countries in Europe will be much cheaper for tourists this year, Spain represents the best value for money for Brits this year. So with the extra holidays during April coming up, and the Summer fast approaching, the cost of all-inclusive Majorca may not be as expensive as people may think this year, which is of course, fantastic news for every holidaymaker.”