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Air Canada Sues Website That Makes it Easier For Flyers to Find Award Seats, Saying it Caused ‘Multiple Levels of Harm’

Air Canada Sues Website That Makes it Easier For Flyers to Find Award Seats, Saying it Caused ‘Multiple Levels of Harm’

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Air Canada is suing the owner of a popular travel website used by frequent flyers to quickly and easily find award seat availability, claiming that the website has been scraping data from its own systems to such a massive scale that it has caused so-called ‘brownouts’ of the Air Canada website.

The website in question is, which is run by Ian Carroll and which describes itself as “the fastest search engine for award travel” with the ability to search availability across entire regions and with near “instant results”.

In order to gather all this data, Air Canada claims unlawfully “scrapes” and “harvests” data from the Air Canada website and that Carroll has circumvented multiple attempts by Air Canada’s IT engineers to block the “frequent and rapacious” intrusions of the airline’s website.

Earlier this month, attorneys acting on behalf of Air Canada sent Carroll a cease and desist letter demanding stop scraping its website, but Carroll responded in a public online post saying that he did not intend to comply with Air Canada’s demands.

On Thursday, Air Canada ratcheted up the pressure on Carroll by filing a lawsuit in a Delaware federal court, accusing the parent company Localhost of violating the Computer Fraud Abuse Act.

The lawsuit claims Carroll used automated computer bots to gather data from the Air Canada website, both through screen scraping and a more sophisticated API scraping method.

Air Canada says the “frequent and broad” searches from the website is having a knock-on effect on its own website and has placed an “immense burden” on its IT infrastructure.

In fact, Air Canada says its website has become unresponsive at times due to the number of requests it is trying to handle from, leading to engineers trying to block the screenscraping with “extreme anti-bot rules”.

Carroll appears to have acknowledged the fact that Air Canada was trying to block from accessing its site but said in June that he would be able to get around the blocks.

In addition to computer fraud allegations, Air Canada has also accused of trademark infringement and false advertising. On social media network X, Carroll responded to the lawsuit, saying he was “disappointed” with Air Canada’s decision to sue.

“We make it easier for all Aeropla users to find the best awards and will fully defend our position in court,” Carroll said.

Earlier this month, another award seat search website Expert Flyer, removed access to award search access for Star Alliance-affiliated airlines, in response to a legal complaint.

View Comments (2)
  • If airlines and their alliances made it easier to find award seats on their own sites we wouldn’t need third-party people to help with this.

  • If the airline weren’t deliberately making it difficult to redeem rewards this whole thing would be a non starter. Because the airline especially Air Canada can’t deal with their customers with integrity and honesty thing like this happen. Screw them , The Airline get what they deserve. Air Canada more so.

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