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Why Virgin America's Ex-CEO Hates Airline Websites

Airlines seek to drive as many sales as possible to their own websites for one simple reason: It helps reduce the costs associated with selling airfares. But that doesn’t mean the airlines have any special talent for elegant e-commerce.

“Many airlines’ home pages are horrible,” says Fred Reid, former chief executive of Virgin America. Even the giants of the industry tend toward cluttered, confusing websites introduced by home pages in desperate need of redesign. ”They look like war zones,” he told the attendees of a conference sponsored by Skift, a travel news and marketing startup. “They create tension.”