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American Airlines opts out of Orbitz

Marketplace Staff Dec 22, 2010
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STACEY VANEK SMITH: The holidays are almost here and a lot of us will be braving the airports — pat-downs and all. If you are traveling this holiday season, chances are you booked your flight online. About three quarters of travelers do that these days, a lot of them use discount websites like Expedia, and Travelocity. Airlines have not been big fans of these sites, because they’ve pushed fares down. Now one major airline is opting out of one of the major discount travel sites entirely.

Marketplace’s Eve Troeh has more.


EVE TROEH: If you go to the travel website Orbitz.com today and check off American Airlines as your preferred carrier, you’ll get an error message. Sorry — can’t find any flights available. That’s because yesterday American yanked all of its flights off Orbitz, and ended a ten year relationship with the company.

Travel industry consultant John Strickland says American maybe taking its cue from successful discount carriers, like Southwest and Jetblue. He says their philosophy about third-party travel sites, is this:

JOHN STRICKLAND: If we believe we can fill our seats, we don’t need to pay out the chunk of our revenue to somebody else to do our job for us.

Strickland says by selling tickets on it’s own site, American can more easily offer additional products, like seat upgrades or priority boarding fees. American says all tickets already bought on Orbitz will be honored, but for any changes or future purchases, customers have to contact the airline directly.

I’m Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

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