January 3, 2011

Expedia Suspends Booking Of American Airlines Flights

Online travel agency Expedia Inc has stopped booking flights for American Airlines, alleging that the airline's new commercial strategy is "anti-consumer" and "anti-choice."

Expedia's weekend move to stop selling tickets for American Airlines, comes a little more than a week after the carrier cut its ties with Orbitz, saying it needed to cut its distribution costs and wanted to take more control over how it offers tickets and services to online travel agencies.

Expedia on Sunday told Reuters by email that it had been unable to reach an agreement with American "due to American Airlines' new commercial strategy that we believe is anti-consumer and anti-choice."

"American Airlines is attempting to introduce a new direct connect model that will result in higher costs and reduced transparency for consumers, making it difficult to compare American Airlines' ticket prices and options with offerings by other airlines," said the travel agency.

As a result, the sale of American Airlines flights on Expedia's website has been suspended, it said.

"We remain open to doing business with American Airlines on terms that are satisfactory to Expedia and do not compromise our ability to provide consumers with the products and services they need," Expedia said.

American Airlines did not comment on Expedia's move, but in a statement on its website last week, it thanked customers for continued loyalty in its dispute with Expedia and Orbitz.

The airline said it has seen a year-over-year increase in its overall ticket sales since December 21, when it removed schedules and fares from Orbitz's travel site and other sites powered by Orbitz.com. It also noted an increase since Dec 23, when Expedia.com "began discriminating against American's flights and schedules by listing them lower in the search display than those of other airlines."


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