From 8 December, everyone who wants to create a new Ryanair account will be subject to an extra verification step to ensure the identity of the customer.
The new “quick and easy” customer account verification initiative aims to enhance customer experience and protect them from ‘ghost brokering’, ‘phishing’, other malicious technology scams and from “pirate OTAs (online travel agents) who use fake customer details (emails & credit cards) to prevent Ryanair sending email messages to passengers while they overcharge them”.
New myRyanair account users are now required to complete a once-off, free of charge account verification “which takes less than 30 seconds and is similar to the existing verification process on AirBnB and Revolut”. The verification consists in checking the identity of the passenger in one of two ways.
Express Verification uses facial recognition technology. provided by GetID, to cross check the photo on the customer’s ID document against a photo they will take whilst verifying. Passengers will need to carry out a liveness check of their face by performing some actions that they will be asked to do.
Standard Verification cross checks the customer’s signature by comparing the signature on their ID with your signature that they will be asked to provide during the verification process. Both Express and Standard Verification will also verify the validity of your ID.
The new “Know Your Passenger” (KYP) initiative will help ensure that customers get the best Ryanair care and prices, the airline said in a statement. It also guarantees that a myRyanair account is being set up by a real person which will help “prevent online fraudsters from incorporating Ryanair bookings into their ‘ghost brokering’, ‘phishing’ or other malicious technology scams”.
In addition, KYP is meanr to ensure that Ryanair customers have direct access and control over their booking at all times in order to manage any changes to bookings directly, receiving all notifications about their bookings directly, including safety, security (especially online check-in reminders) and all disruption information.
Free or not?
The move comes in the middle of a spat between the Irish carrier and OTAs, with Ryanair demanding the OTAs share flyer information direct with the airline and OTAs accusing Ryanair of mining that passenger data to steal customers by the back door.
Moreover, at the same time Ryanair is introducing facial recognition verification, it is being sued in Spain over the same thing. In July, Austrian group for the protection of digital rights nyob (from “none of your business”) filed a complained with the Spanish Data Protection Authority against Ryanair’s “invasive facial recognition” verification process required of passengers booking tickets through third party websites.
The complaint came after a woman in Spain received an e-mail from Ryanair, after booking her tickets through the online travel agency eDreams, informing her she needed to verify her identity to be allowed to board the flight. She could either do that online, through facial recognition, a process taking up to 7 days and costing 59 cents, or do it by checking in at the airport, for an additional fee of 30 to 55 euros.
At the time, the airline justified the verification process by saying that third party agencies “scrape Ryanair’s inventory and in many cases miss-sell our flights and ancillary services with hidden mark-ups, while providing incorrect customer contact information and payment details”.
At the moment of writing, according to Ryanair’s frequently asked questions page, while customers booking directly through Ryanair can have their identity checked free of charge, passengers who book their tickets through third party services, i.e. OTAs, still need to pay the 59 cent fee if doing the verification online or pay the much higher cost of checking in at the airport.