Feeds

easyJet warns Expedia: 'Hands off our flights'

'Bang, bang, click, click, click'

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Exclusive Budget airline easyJet.co.uk has warned Expedia.co.uk to stop selling its flights via its website or face the possibility of legal action.

An easyJet spokeswoman told The Register yesterday that the UK arm of Expedia, whose parent company is US-based Expedia Inc, has "no business relationship whatsoever" with the holiday e-tail outfit. Despite that, the firm continues to flog easyJet flights at jacked up prices to customers who are presumably none-the-wiser that a “middle-man” is effectively pocketing their hard-earned holiday cash.

“We have written to Expedia and asked them to stop selling flights. They are currently doing so without our express permission,” said the easyJet spokeswoman. She added that "legal action could follow" if Expedia doesn't heed the airline's warnings.

Of course it’s normal practice within the travel industry for companies, acting as a third party, to sell flights on behalf of airline firms. But easyJet, which was established by serial entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou in 1995, doesn’t have such an arrangement in place because its business model is entirely based on direct sales.

We were alerted to the issue after El Reg reader Neil contacted us regarding a problem he was having with Expedia’s ticket system.

He booked a holiday to Marrakech, Morocco via Expedia’s website on the 19 June but didn’t receive confirmation of his easyJet flight even though he had paid in full for the trip.

Neil contacted Expedia to find out why it had cocked up his order. He told us via email: “They admitted that there is an ongoing problem with their system talking to easyJet, and they confirmed that my flight had indeed NOT been booked!” he said. “When asked when they were going to tell me, their response was, ‘Well it says on your itinerary that it’s not been confirmed’.”

So we put a call into Expedia to find out if it was suffering technical glitches with its system. Unsurprisingly, following our intervention, the firm quickly scrambled to rectify Neil’s booking.

It also gave us this canned statement: “Of the 0.5 per cent of customers who contact us each year regarding their booking, 97 per cent of enquiries are resolved within 28 days. We are committed to customer satisfaction and are continually working to make the customer experience even better.”

Anatomy of a 'relationship'

We asked Expedia to tell us why it continued to sell easyJet flights – at a higher price – without consent from the carrier.

The firm said in a statement: “Expedia.co.uk is unable to comment on our business relationships with any suppliers or service providers.”

However, easyJet’s spokeswoman reiterated to us that it doesn’t have a business relationship with Expedia. We also asked her to clarify how Expedia obtains the flight information and prices from easyJet.

She told us that Expedia and other e-tailers grab the details from the airline’s website using a “screen scraper”, a method in which a computer program extracts data from the display output of another program.

Neil said he booked through Expedia because he thought it would be a quick, easy “bang, bang, click, click, click” process. However, his experience of the whole debacle has left him with concerns that other customers will be hood-winked by what he described as “a very confusing system.”

It also prompted him to ask the question: “What if I had turned up at the airport to go on holiday? How many will turn up and find they have no flights?”

We put that reasonable query to Expedia but it refused to comment on its flight-selling technique. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.