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American Airlines begins Discussion over new Corporate Plans that would Affect Travel Websites

The ongoing issue between American Airlines and travel research booking websites may explode.  Expedia has retaliated against American Airlines due to their new strategy that will annex Expedia as well as other well-known travel booking sites.  Over the course of the past weekend, Expedia stopped selling American Airlines flights to consumers. Now, American Airlines is urging consumers to visit other travel websites such as Kayak.com and Priceline.com to look for low-cost flights.

In a statement, Expedia claims that they have not been able to reach an agreement with American Airlines due to their new proposed policy that Expedia feels is “anti-consumer and anti-choice” against their clientele. The new American plan would attempt to introduce a new direct connect model that would bring about higher costs for consumers as well as reduced transparency.  This proposed plan will make it harder for consumers to compare American Airlines flight costs to that of other flights offered by different airlines.

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American Airlines has its reasons behind the new plan, claiming that they would like to sell more tickets through their own website, rather than paying travel websites to market their tickets for them, resulting in cutting costs for the airline.  American has to pay a commission every time a consumer searches a certain flight or books a flight.  Although, to make up for increased costs, American claims they will offer more exclusive offers that will save consumers money on hotel and flight packages, only if they book their ticket through the American Airlines website.

Experts watching the flight situation claim that American Airlines should caution the devised plans they are making.  The airlines may cut costs through ending their contract with certain travel websites, although their sales could indefinitely drop if their flight deals disappear from travel websites such as Expedia and Orbitz due to the high percentage of consumers who book their flights through travel websites.  Ryan Mikolasik, American Airlines spokesman claims, “that while consumers can’t buy American tickets on Expedia anymore, the airlines fares and schedules remain on Egencia, Expedia’s corporate travel website.”

Source: Associated Press / Reuters / Businessweek

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