Online Travel Sites Waive Booking Fees To Compete With Airlines

Several travel sites are scrapping booking fees to keep customers away from individual airline sites. Savvy customers currently research fares with travel sites, and then buy directly from airlines to avoid booking fees.

“Hotwire.com announced this week that it would drop its $6-a-ticket charge for airline reservations on both its “opaque” reservations (the bargain-priced fares that don’t let you know exactly what flight you’ve booked until after you’ve paid) and regular bookings through summer. Last week, Priceline.com announced it was suspending booking charges on regular airfares through Labor Day. (The deal excludes its opaque, name-your-own-price fares.) Fees range from $5 a domestic ticket to up to $9.95 for an international reservation.

And on Wednesday, Cheaptotravel.com, a sister site to Travelocity that launched in January and targets price-sensitive travelers, followed suit, dropping its $3-a-ticket fee through the summer. A fourth agency, TripSync, a niche site geared to business travelers, may have triggered the no-fee movement when it permanently dropped its fees in late March.”

The big players in the online travel world – Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity – are keeping their booking fees for the moment, but hopefully pricing pressure from the competition will help show them the error of their ways.

Some booking fees melt in summer [USA Today]
(Photo: alex-s)

Comments

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  1. homerjay says:

    Okay, hold on a sec. Is that Braathens (whoever the hell that is) tag actually showing a guy bending over and taking it right up the ass?

    That just about sums it all up, doesn’t it?

  2. yep, that’s what i always do…unless i’m flying somewhere i’ve been before. then, i usually just stick with swa because i hate most other airlines.

  3. yg17 says:

    Every time I’ve flown in recent years, it’s been cheaper to book directly from American Airline’s website than Expedia, Orbitz, etc. Plus, you can choose your seats when you book directly through AA. No more seats right next to the shitter or window seats that give you a lovely view of the plane’s wing and nothing else.

  4. eli_b says:

    @yg17: That’s what I was going to say…I look it up on Expedia, go to the actual fight site, and it’s the same price, no booking fee. So now there is no booking fee, but when you have a problem I’d rather deal with the airline than Expedia, many times the airline won’t help you out with tickets booked through Expedia.

  5. SadSam says:

    Same, research on expedia.com, etc. and then book with airline, I’m able to pick my seat and I generally earn ff miles by using the airline’s site and no booking fee.