Ryanair and the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) are locked in a bitter row over airline ticket pricing. The travel trade organisation has accused the airline of “fobbing off” the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) with its 1p flight promotions.
The OFT ordered all airlines to make sure the ticket prices displayed on websites were unambiguous and inclusive of taxes and non-optional charges. All airlines had until the end of January to comply.
The budget carrier upgraded its website over the weekend but it relaunched the site on Tuesday by promoting 1 million seats for 1p each – inclusive of all fees – during April, May and June. It also claimed to be experiencing ‘bedding down’ issues on the site.
ABTA slammed the airline for continuing to confuse customers with its prices advertised on the site. A source says: “They are the only people in the entire sector who won’t comply.”
ABTA head of legal services Simon Bunce ripped into the airline, accusing it of not caring about its customers.
He says: “Ryanair has fobbed off the OFT for over a year with the excuse that they could not show clear, unambiguous prices on its website because they didn’t have the technology. Clearly…they still don’t have the technology. Either that or they just don’t care about how they deal with their customers.
“The OFT must have had its patience sorely tested by Ryanair and we would urge them to ensure that holidaymakers can trust the prices they are given so that they can make valid comparisons.”
The airline has hit back ABTA “is talking rubbish”, as the 1p flights are inclusive of all costs. The move suggests that the airline is subsidising costs of keeping ticket prices down.
OFT says that it is monitoring the situation. If the OFT decides it is still unsatisfied with the pricing on Ryanair’s website the next step would be to take the carrier to court.