Expedia Drops American Airlines Listing From Its Site

Expedia Drops American Airlines
The move by Expedia widens the conflict between online travel agencies and airlines that seek to drive more consumers to their own websites. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Expedia Inc. removed American Airlines’ airfares from its travel website today, claiming the pricing model the third-largest U.S. carrier developed may raise costs and cut transparency for passengers.

The new model is “anti-consumer and anti-choice,” making it harder to compare American ticket prices and options with those of other airlines, the online travel agency said in an e-mailed statement.

American doesn’t expect a “significant” drop in sales from Expedia’s move, said Ryan Mikolasik, a spokesman for American Airlines. On Dec. 23, Expedia omitted American fares from prime search displays on its site, though customers could still buy tickets. This drove consumers to other ticket sites, Mikolasik said today.

The move by Expedia widens the conflict between online travel agencies and airlines, such as American, that seek to drive more consumers to their own websites. Fort Worth, Texas- based American, owned by AMR Corp., has developed a system called Direct Connect that provides fare pricing and options directly to larger online travel agencies.

Last month, American pulled its listings off Orbitz Worldwide Inc., while Delta Air Lines Inc. notified three online travel sites -- CheapOAir.com, OneTravel.com and BookIt.com -- that it terminated them as authorized travel agents.

American spokesman Mikolasik said that while consumers can’t buy American tickets on Expedia anymore, the airline’s fares and schedules remain on Egencia, Expedia’s corporate travel website.

Expedia, based in Bellevue, Washington, fell 19 cents to $25.09 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading yesterday, while AMR rose 3 cents to $7.79 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

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