Mind the gap

Here’s The New York Times‘ take on it: link

This is a clear case of one entity not understanding their value to the other. Users go to Expedia and Orbitz (among others) to find the lowest rates on airfare to where they want to travel. These users have no loyalty to an airline, they just want to get where they’re going as inexpensively as possible.

American Airlines wants to change the way their fares are offered so they can gouge charge customers additional fees for things like additional legroom and baggage and probably oxygen in the near future. With the way fares are sold on Expedia and Orbitz – in a customer-centric way – AA can’t charge these additional fees and feels they are missing out on additional revenue.

I think American Airlines can relax on this issue. If given a choice of comparable fares, I would only choose AA if they were no other carrier flying to that destination. The same can be said of Delta. These originators and perpetuators of the government bailout should have been extinct long ago if judged solely on their capacity to understand the term “customer service” and are in fact doing all of us non-business, non-corporate expense account fliers a great favor by removing their listings from the discount travel sites. We can now book our fares more quickly without sorting through these ancient, inferior carriers.

My only hope is that Expedia and Orbitz don’t bring Delta and American Airlines back to their sites. Leaving them off the discounted travel sites can only speed their demise and increase the profits of airlines that get it, like Southwest (which also doesn’t list on discount travel sites but has great customer service and excellent fares), Virgin, and JetBlue.

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