UPDATE:

eDreams has responded with a strong rebuke of Ryanair’s statement earlier today.

“eDreams notes Ryanair’s latest attack on the fast-growing online travel agency (‘OTA’) sector.  As an OTA, eDreams is perfectly entitled to sell Ryanair tickets, and the tickets of other airlines providing customers with much-needed choice and variety to the flight distribution market.  Our sites deliver consumers with the ability to find the best prices and our services are supported by our proven, high customer satisfaction.

It is also perfectly lawful for an OTA to use the AdWords service of Google in order to advertise flight booking services provided to its customers.  Ryanair has been trying, without success, to prevent OTAs selling its tickets for the last ten years, and they are now invoking new, ill-founded grievances.”

ORIGINAL:

eDreams Odigeo is on the end of a volley of criticism from Ryanair this week for its advertising strategy on Google.

The European low cost carrier has accused eDreams of bidding high on Google advertising in order to place their own branding above Ryanair and, therefore, “misleading Ryanair customers into visiting the eDreams website, masquerading as Ryanair.com, and in turn booking with eDreams”.

It is not the first time a public battle has erupted between the two brands, with Ryanair winning a legal ruling in January this year in the German courts to halt the use by eDreams of the ryanair.eDreams.de subdomain, as well as refrain from using the same in Google advertising.

The online travel agency was also ordered to pay compensation for trademark infringement.

The latest development has seen Ryanair call on Google to “enforce greater transparency” in its advertising methods as it claims to have received “extensive complaints” from customers who have been misled into buying tickets on the airline.

This has led to sites such as eDreams “refuse to pass on vital information to both customers and Ryanair regarding issues such as flight changes, web check-in, special needs assistance and contact details”, the airline claims in a statement.

ryanair edreams2

Ryanair is particularly incensed by the use of eDreams (as pictured at the top of this image) to direct customers to a branded page on its website.

Chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs says the online travel agency is “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”.

The airline, which has an agreement with Google to have its fares appear on the search engine’s Flight Search product, says it does not have any complaint with the principle of pay-per-click bidding, but Jacobs says:

“While we have no issue with Google advertising in general, it is unfair that it is used as a mechanism to mislead customers.”

eDreams Odigeo (the umbrella brand covering eDreams) and Google have yet to respond to requests for comment.

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UPDATE: eDreams has responded with a strong rebuke of Ryanair’s statement earlier today. “eDreams notes Ryanair’s latest attack on the fast-growing online travel agency (‘OTA’) sector.  As an OTA, eDreams is perfectly entitled to sell Ryanair tickets, and the tickets of other airlines providing customers with much-needed choice and...