Ryanair has accused travel websites such as astminute.com of ripping off customers by routinely adding up to 133 per cent to the clost of their flights.
Ryanair said yesterday that it had begun blocking bookings from travel websites on the grounds that they often charged passengers double the ticket price and failed to pass on important information such as changes in flight times and baggage allowances.
A spokesman said it had prevented transactions routed through certain internet addresses and had begun blocking credit-card payments made by travel websites. So far, about 10 credit-card accounts have been blacklisted.
Ryanair said in some cases the prices being charged by travel websites were 133 per cent more than the fare advertised on the internet by the airline.
The company said, for instance, that lastminute.com was selling tickets later this month between Dublin and London for £45.18 (£30.77) when the price on the Ryan-air website was £22.59.
In the case of London-Frankfurt, the mark-up being charged by ebookers was up to 100 per cent. "Middlemen just add to the cost when the service can be very easily provided directly through our website," said the spokesman.
John Bevan, travel director at lastminute.com, which is now owned by the US travel giant Sabre, said Ryanair was fully aware of and satisfied with the terms and conditions on its site and maintained it had not been "blocked" by the airline.
He said, although a fee was charged when a package deal was booked through lastminute.com, this could be offset by the discounts obtained on hotel rooms.
"All our flight fares are inclusive of all taxes, unlike Ryanair who add them at the end of the booking process," he added.
Independent, Michael Harrison
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