American Airlines Leaves Orbitz Standing at the Gate

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After a battle lasting weeks, American Airlines just announced that effective immediately, you can no longer book its tickets through popular travel site Orbitz.

Effective immediately, if you want to fly American Airlines, don’t try to book your ticket at orbitz.com.

American Airlines announced today that they’re no longer dealing with Orbitz, although they will continue to offer tickets through Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline, and other travel websites.

Why are they dropping Orbitz? In a word, money.  Whenever an American ticket was booked through Orbitz, the airline paid a ticketing fee to the site, as well as a booking fee to something called a “global distribution system,” or GDS – a service that supplies the prices and schedules to agents.  The distribution system that Orbitz uses is owned by company called Travelport, which also owns a controlling interest in Orbitz.

Apparently American thought that Travelport was making too much money, although they managed to say it in speech so vague that you can barely understand it. From American’s recent press release

“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, a vice president at American. “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.”

American has been threatening to pull it’s business from Orbitz for weeks. In a conference call back on Nov. 4, Orbitz CEO Barney Harford said…

“American Airlines has publicly expressed its intention to force agencies to connect directly to its systems in order to access its content… By taking this action, American is attempting to limit travelers’ choices when they can least afford it.”

Will these two kiss and make up? Will American once again offer tickets through Orbitz? I, for one, could not care less.  What is interesting, however, is that although American said that they’re not dealing through Orbitz effective immediately, as I write this, they’re still showing up on the Orbitz website.

Stacy Johnson

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