Ryanair's comparison site 'could prove costly'
NEW flight-comparison technology being developed by Ryanair and Google could prove costly for consumers, according to a leading travel organisation.
Reports in the 'Sunday Independent' indicate the airline and search engine giant are working together on what Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary said would "change the way people buy tickets forever".
Mr O'Leary says Google is developing its own flight-comparison technology that will "blow comparison sites like Skyscanner out of the water".
Ryanair is sharing its pricing with Google for the project. Aer Lingus declined to say whether it was doing the same.
Mr O'Leary added that Ryanair would have the technology to track personal flight data for marketing purposes within five years. Ryanair, he said, would know "how often you fly, where you fly, who you fly with, and we'll design individual packages for you".
Pat Dawson, chief executive of the Irish Travel Agency Association, warned that giving companies access to reams of flight-purchasing information could lead to price hikes.
"What we're against is the tracking of individual passengers. It's not yet clear whether the Google system will do this, but . . . if one company can find out exactly how many passengers fly once a week to London, for example, the result is that certain routes become hugely expensive. Our priority is that the consumer gets good value, that prices don't get hiked because of technology," he said.