Expedia dumps top airline over ‘anti-choice’ strategy
NEW YORK – Online travel agency Expedia Inc has dropped tickets for American Airlines from its listings, charging that the airline’s new commercial strategy is “anti-consumer” and “anti-choice.”
The move, made over the weekend, is the latest development in a feud between the airline and agencies such as Expedia and Orbitz.
American removed its listings and other features from Orbitz last month, saying it needed to cut distribution costs. It also contended the model used by online travel agencies prevents it from offering the lowest possible fares.
In a statement e-mailed to Reuters on Sunday, Expedia said 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.”
As a result, Expedia said the sale of American Airlines flights on its website has been suspended.
“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,” the Expedia statement said.
American Airlines has no immediate 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, “that is preventing American Airlines fares from being featured on those sites.”
It said it has seen a year-over-year increase in its overall ticket sales since Dec 21, when it removed schedules and fares from Orbitz.com and websites 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.”