Expedia.com has wasted no time in picking the first travel industry fight of 2011. Less than two weeks after American Airlines parted ways with Orbitz.com, Expedia has made its stance clear by removing all American listings from its pages.
In the days after the Orbitz news, Expedia had expressed solidarity with the site by downgrading the placement of American Airlines flights on its search results. But this morning, the company released the following statement to Consumerist, announcing the termination of its relationship with the airline:
We have been unable to reach an agreement with American Airlines due to American Airlines’ new commercial strategy that we believe is anti-consumer and anti-choice. American Airlines is attempting to introduce a new direct connect model that will result in higher costs and reduced transparency for consumers, making it difficult to compare American Airlines’ ticket prices and options with offerings by other airlines. American Airlines’ direct connect model is of questionable, if any, benefit to travelers, would be costly to build and maintain and would compromise travel agents’ ability to provide travelers with the best selection.
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 and do not compromise our ability to provide consumers with the products and services they need.
We cannot support efforts that we believe are fundamentally bad for travelers. With or without American Airlines’ inventory, we have a robust supply base and broad array of choices for our customers and we continue to offer hundreds of flight options for the routes served by American Airlines.
American isn’t the only airline making moves intended to drive people away from third-party booking sites and to its own website. Right after Christmas, Delta announced it had pulled its listings from three smaller travel sites.