BTN Europe presents an overview of business travel and MICE predictions for this year
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One of the world’s leading online travel agencies (OTAs) has stopped selling American Airlines’ (AA) flights.
Expedia, which has been involved in a bitter dispute with AA about fare distribution over the last three weeks, pulled the airline’s content from its website on New Year’s Day.
On December 21, AA stopped distributing its fares on Orbitz – an OTA 49% owned by travel technology firm Travelport – after a court ruled the airline could tear up a contract that had committed it to providing all its content to the intermediary.
AA is known to be pursuing a new commercial strategy which involves driving bookers to its Direct Connect product, thereby missing out global distribution systems (GDSs), such as Sabre, Galileo, Worldspan and Amadeus.
In what seemed to be a show of solidarity, Expedia initially made AA fares harder to find on its search engine.
But when it couldn’t reach an agreement with the airline before the turn of the year, Expedia moved to ditch all AA fares.
An Expedia statement read: “We have been unable to reach an agreement with American Airlines due to its new commercial strategy that we believe is anti-consumer and anti-choice. “As a result, the sale of American Airlines flights on our website has been suspended. We remain open to doing business with American Airlines on terms that are satisfactory to Expedia.”
AA tickets can no longer be booked on Expedia-owned sites Hotwire and TripAdvisor, though the company’s corporate travel division, Egencia, is not part of the boycott.
Delta Air Lines also recently pulled its content from a number of smaller OTAs in an attempt to drive customers directly to its website.
Analysts are predicting a long and bitter battle between the airlines and distribution companies over the next year.
Fears are growing that the wrangling will lead to an inevitable increase in the cost of booking a seat on an aircraft.