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Battle Escalates Between Airlines and Online Agents 279

Ponca City writes "The Epoch Times reports that online travel booking giant Expedia has removed American Airlines from its travel website over disagreements with American's fee structure in the latest incident in an escalating battle between airlines and online travel agents. Although American gets roughly two-thirds of its revenues from third-party travel agents like Expedia, American has been looking for online agents to cut their fees as one way to lower fares — something that Expedia was not prepared to do. Expedia released a statement that American's action 'will result in higher costs and reduced transparency for consumers, making it difficult to compare ticket prices and options with offerings by other airlines,' while American urged customers to book directly on American's website for the lowest prices. Meanwhile Google is waiting in the wings with its recent proposal to purchase ITA Software, the developer of the Internet's leading technology to compare flights fares. 'Though 49 percent of travelers purchase travel online, it is still time consuming and slow to search for travel options online,' says a statement from Google, defending the ITA acquisition which is being opposed by Microsoft on anti-trust grounds. 'We plan to work with ITA to create a new, easier way for users to find better flight information online.'"

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