Airlines Have a Major Bad Bot Problem

May 24, 2018 Edward Roberts

Airlines suffer from automated abuse from bad bots in a major way. 43.9% of all traffic on airlines websites came from bad bots. Humans accounted for only 55.2% of traffic.

What do bad bots do on airline websites? Airline prices are scraped not only by direct competitors, but also by third-party players in the expansive travel ecosystem.

Unauthorized online travel agencies (OTAs), competitors, price aggregators, and metasearch sites use sophisticated scraping bots to abuse the business logic of booking engines. Querying for any ticket they can sell, they skew look-to-book ratios, increase GDS transaction costs, and are responsible for site slowdowns and downtime—causing customer dissatisfaction during disruptions. They dynamically package seat inventory with other products, stealing direct and ancillary revenue. And, they insert their own email addresses into reservations, thereby taking control of remarketing opportunities.

In addition, airlines suffer from account takeover issues as bad bot operators attempt to get into user accounts and empty them of air miles balances.

From data found in the 2018 Bad Bot Report, 19.7% of the bad bot traffic on airline websites was classified as sophisticated.

About the Author

Edward Roberts

Edward Roberts leads Product Marketing and has over twenty years experience in technology marketing. Previously he worked for Juniper Networks, heading up Product Marketing for the Counter Security team. Before that he ran marketing for Mykonos Software, a web security company.

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