American Airlines yanks fares from Orbitz
In a show of support for its rival, Expedia changes the way it displays AA fares.
Consumers shopping for airfares on Orbitz.com will no longer be able to choose from among American Airlines flights. The carrier says that, effective immediately, it will no longer sell tickets through Orbitz or its subsidiary, Orbitz for Business.
American's move represents a potentially serious blow to Orbitz. Its stock fell nearly 6%, and financial analysts said Orbitz would be "at a competitive disadvantage" to its rivals, including Priceline and Expedia. American bookings accounted for about 5% of Orbitz's new revenue for the first nine months of the year, the company said.
In response, Tnooz reports, "Expedia has removed fares from American Airlines in its search results in an unprecedented show of support for rival online travel agency Orbitz." You have to click on a link to find the AA fares elsewhere at Expedia's website. Post continues after video.
Tickets for travel already purchased through Orbitz remain valid, the airline said, but changes must be made through American Airlines reservations by calling (800) 433-7300.
Tickets for travel on American Airlines and American Eagle, including all international and domestic classes of service, are widely available through a number of other outlets, including American's own website, AA.com.
The company said tickets, fares and schedules are also available through American's reservations agents, thousands of travel agencies, other online travel agencies such as Priceline.com, and metasearch engines such as Kayak.com.
"American Airlines regrets any inconvenience this may cause our customers. While we could not reach an agreement with Orbitz, we are committed to letting customers know of the multitude of options they have to purchase travel on American Airlines," said Derek DeCross, vice rresident for sales. "In today's competitive marketplace, it is important for American to be free to customize its product offerings to improve the customer experience as well as distribute its products in a way that does not result in unnecessary costs."
The move by American was not totally unexpected. It had attempted to pull out of its Orbitz agreement earlier this year, but was blocked by the website's temporary restraining order. When a judge in Illinois this week lifted the order, American moved quickly to cut the cord with Orbitz.
The dispute revolved around American's insistence that Orbitz get its flight information directly from American's system and not a distribution system middleman. American said the middleman added to the cost, making the airline less competitive.
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