As if the holidays didn’t provide enough air travel drama, there is now even more as American Airlines flights have been removed from several online booking sites, including Expedia and Hotwire. There have been a lot of discussions about American Airlines’ new policies, with Expedia choosing to suspend their flights from all of their websites, which also includes Hotwire. According to Tnooz, Expedia had removed American’s flights from their flight matrix on December 22, making it difficult to find them, and then finalized the suspension, by terminating their relationship on January 1.
As Tnooz reports, the suspension is a result of American’s new direct connect model, of which Expedia was so bold to call as “anti-consumer and anti-choice”. Furthermore, Expedia claims that it raises costs and reduces transparency. I find that funny, since the biggest complaints from consumers of online travel agencies like Expedia, are the high costs and low transparency. Double standard maybe?
While there may seem like some finality to the decision by Expedia, I believe both parties may come around. Expedia is one of the largest and most popular online travel agencies, and American is one of the biggest airlines. American’s flights have also been pulled from Orbitz, which was of their own doing. It will be interesting to see how the airline does over the coming weeks and months with their flights removed from a few of the largest online travel agencies. As it’s reported in the Tnooz article, American saw an increase in bookings after the removals, but while this was during the holidays, the same might not be said over the slow winter months ahead.
[Photo courtesy of Boeing Dreamscape]