Budget airline Ryanair (FR/RYR) has accused the online travel website Kiwi.com of issuing fake boarding passes for its flights meaning that passengers will be turned away from flights they have paid Kiwi.com for.
Founded in 2012 and previously known as Skypicker, Kiwi.com is based in the Czech Republic and claims to be authorised to sell Ryanair flights, something which Ryanair says is not the case.
The row centres around the fact that the only way Ryanair can guarantee that passengers are informed about safety and regulatory protocols correctly is by Ryanair’s check-in process, which is required under EU regulation 2015/1998.
Kiwi.com has also been supplying Ryanair with fake customer details preventing the airline from contacting the passengers directly. The airline recently obtained a court order in the Czech Republic ordering Kiwi.com to stop giving fake details but Ryanair says that the practice is continuing. This also means that passengers won’t be able to obtain refunds on flights from Ryanair.
In a statement, Ryanair’s Director of Marketing, Dara Brady, said: “We became aware of these fake boarding passes when a small number of passengers who booked their flights through Kiwi.com arrived at the boarding gate without official Ryanair Boarding Passes last week. It is an obligation under EU regulations that an airline informs passengers directly of all safety and security policies regarding their flight, Kiwi.com are circumventing this by checking passengers in and replacing the Ryanair Boarding Pass with a fake Boarding Pass issued by Kiwi.com.
Any passenger presenting a Kiwi.com Boarding Pass will be refused boarding on Ryanair flights. If you made a booking through Kiwi.com we urge you to contact Kiwi.com to obtain the necessary Ryanair booking reference and email address so that you can complete check-in in line with our safety and security protocol. Ryanair check-in opens 24 hrs pre departure for all passengers and 60 days pre departure for passengers who have purchased a reserved seat.
Ryanair now says that as of today passengers without an official Ryanair boarding pass will not be able to board Ryanair flights.
The Irish budget airline has been embattled in a row with so-called “screen scraper” websites and recently launched a price verification tool to check if a booking and price were genuine. The “Verified Seal” is designed to safeguard the customer by providing them with a simple identifier to ensure they know they are booking their flights directly with Ryanair and not through an Online Travel Agent or screen scraper.
In response to the claims, a spokesperson for Kiwi.com said: “There is no such ‘fake’ boarding pass – Kiwi.com complies with all the requirements to ensure safe travel for our customers and have done so for years. As well as providing customers with the Ryanair boarding pass we have also placed it on a Kiwi.com branded background – all the information is the same, just the colours are different.
“The real reason for this action is because Kiwi.com often sells Ryanair tickets cheaper than Ryanair and they don’t like it. Ryanair’s behaviour is nothing short of cruel by putting profit ahead of consumer choice. We will do everything in our power to support our customers through this despicable behaviour from Ryanair who are punishing travellers just because they don’t like competition.”