American Airlines on Dec.21 removed its fares list from Orbitz while Delta Airlines did the same with CheapOAir.com, OneTravel.com and BookIt.com on Dec. 17.
This is a cost-cutting, promote brand and increase travel experience selling ability move according to experts. However, industry observers worry that this takes out the best deal hunt opportunity for travelers.
Airfarewatchdog.com’s George Hobica said that consumers don’t realize how online travel agencies help save consumers millions of dollars yearly not only in fares comparison but by also alerting them it is often cheaper to fly out on one airline and back on another.
Delta stated it aims to build loyalty and uphold a more direct connection with customers. Glen Hauenstein, executive vice president said in a presentation to investors that it is like buying same components from Apple and Best Buy but with different store experiences.
America wants Orbitz to adopt a technology system that gives information about constantly growing number of services offered by the airline for a fee like priority boarding. This gives the airline additional $1 billion yearly profit.
American Airline’s distribution strategy director said it’s a complete product change for the airline where they used to sell fares only but now much more to expose optional services.
Orbitz said in a statement that they will continue to arrange with American Airlines to allot American’s tickets on Orbitz.com and Orbitz for Business. They added that for the year ended in September, it created sales of over $800 million for American.
For some years, Southwest fares were only offered on the airline’s website and the actions taken by Delta and American may prompt other carriers to do the same said Charlie Leocha from Consumer Travel Alliance.
Darryl Jenkins, airline industry analyst said that in the airlines’ effort for more control to sell more extras, travelers are still with more shopping options with so many places to compare and shop around. He thinks airlines will win this one and consumers will not be hurt at all.