Ryanair is suing Google and website eDreams over misleading ads

2 Dec 2015

Ryanair is taking the internet giant Google as well as online ticket agent eDreams to the High Court

Over a year ago, Europe-wide airline Ryanair and Google were best buddies, embarking on a journey to transform travel. Now Ryanair is taking the internet giant as well as online ticket agent eDreams to the High Court.

The airline has initiated legal proceedings against Google and travel site eDreams over alleged misleading advertising of flights.

Ryanair has demanded that Google enforce greater transparency in its advertising so consumers aren’t misled into buying their flights from online intermediaries rather than from the Ryanair website.

The action is the latest in a long-running war Ryanair has waged against so-called “screenscrapers”, sites that resell flights from various airlines.

Flying into drama

The airline has warned that customers have experienced problems after booking with screenscrapers, including not having bags checked in and additional passenger names not being included in bookings.

Last summer, the airline won a regional court case in Germany preventing eDreams from using the domain Ryanair.edreams.de in Germany. The site features the Ryanair logo and urges users to browse low-cost flights with Ryanair using the eDreams search engine.

Ryanair is also suing Google, saying the search giant should be imposing tighter restrictions on eDreams’ online advertising.

The move comes more than a year after Google unveiled its Google Flights service, which included Ryanair as an enthusiastic partner.

However, earlier this month the airline called on eDreams to stop misleading consumers with deceptive branding, false fares and hidden fees.

In a statement, Ryanair’s chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said it expects Google “to ensure that this advertising is honest and transparent (namely that eDreams advertises as ‘eDreams’ and not as Ryanair), which is what Google’s own code of conduct requires and which will prevent more ordinary consumers being deceived”.

Ryanair image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years