No More Flight Booking Fees On

Expedia has finally joined its rival online travel sites in eliminating air travel booking fees. Back in March, the site eliminated the fees on a temporary basis, but now the lack of fees is permanent. They will still charge a $20 fee to book flights over the phone.

The Wall Street Journal notes that eliminating fees is a ploy to change the way that many peoplr use travel sites:

Right now, about 31% of people who spend time shopping with an online travel agency go to the airline’s own site to book, according to PhoCusWright, a travel research company. There is some evidence that the online agencies are retaining more of these customers since they began their no-booking-fee promotions, says Jake Fuller, an analyst at Travel Wise Research LLC. He noted that both Expedia and Orbitz said in recent conference calls to discuss earnings that airline booking volume had increased since the promotions started.

I generally use the big travel sites to see which airlines have flights going where I need them to at my desired time, and then I go to the airline’s Web site in order to eliminate a layer of customer service reps and often save some money.

Book Any Flight Without Booking Fees [Expedia]
Expedia Eliminates Fees for Booking Flights Online [WSJ]


Edit Your Comment

  1. CreativeLinks says:

    I also search on travel sites, and then go to the airline company.

    However, on my last trip I did book through Travelocity, because it was a decent package deal on hotel/air/car.

    • almightytora says:

      @CreativeLinks: That is what I do too. I am part of a lot of airline rewards programs, and they won’t reward me if I use Expedia, Travelocity, etc. It is usually cheaper just going directly to the airline company and checking the price.

      For combo deals, like you stated, it is good to use those travel sites like Expedia.

  2. snazz says:

    i dont buy it… we are still gonna have to pay that fee somehow. its gonna be hidden somewhere else or built in to the price of the tickets, etc. boo

    • GyroMight says:

      @snazz: Built in charges that are obvious are fine, but all the hidden add on fees you don’t see until the very end of checkout suck.

    • pop top says:

      @snazz: Didn’t you hear about their new “logo viewing fee”?

    • say what?! says:

      @snazz: I think it might be in there somewhere, but oftentimes, these sites are cheaper than the individual airlines (like the flight I just booked today from ORD to LHR), so I’m not complaining.

      • MostlyHarmless says:

        @say what?!: NOOOOO Do not go to LHR. Its a warp of time ans space that eats luggage and souls of unsuspecting tired travellers.

  3. sonneillon says:

    I find that the best bet is to go through the online booking sites and then try to get the airlines to price match.

  4. Etoiles says:

    I always book directly through the hotel / airline because it gives me much more control in the event something goes wrong or changes. Hasn’t this very site run a half-dozen stories about showing up with your Orbitz / Expedia / Travelocity reservation, only to find that the hotel / rental company / whatever won’t deal with you directly because of it?

    My fiancé’s been having good luck with Priceline because for this past trip or two he really hasn’t cared what hotel he’s ended up in, sort of a thing, but usually when we’re planning trips we DO care, and it’s better to travel with that control.

    • nakedscience says:

      @Etoiles: One of my bosses just saved over $400 through priceline. I’d say that’s worth any possible inconvenience.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @Etoiles: Exactly. Unless and until Orbitz and its ilk provide CRs who go to bat for the customer, there’s no reason to book THROUGH them. All it does it make problems harder to resolve. (Priceline is a different beast.)

  5. vastrightwing says:

    All I want is price fairness: No hidden fees. Airlines, go ahead and charge all you want. All I want is to be able to make a decision based on the true cost of travel. This isn’t rocket science, except you are fighting us by trying to hide the true cost of travel.

    Now if Expedia can make it so I can find the cheapest flight including all the sick fees the airlines charge and make it easy for me to find a flight, I’ll book it through them. I have a hunch that the airlines won’t want to cooperate with Expedia to make this happen.

  6. cinnarose says:

    I do like Expedia, and I use them quite frequently for booking travel for people at work. So much, in fact, that I reached their Elite Plus status as of 2009. Not that it provides much in the way of perks (the biggest one is that they will waive the $30 Expedia change fee). I was one of those people that would research on Expedia and buy elsewhere, so I like that they are no longer charging the airfare booking fee.

  7. Blueskylaw says:

    “Expedia and Orbitz said in recent conference calls to discuss earnings that airline booking volume had increased since the promotions started.”

    So they’re saying that by lowering fees, business increased?
    What a stunning business concept.
    Bank of America, are you listening?

  8. ajlei says:

    I just use Kayak and then go through to the airline website. Although, I usually either pick between Alaska Airlines and Southwest. I like Alaska because they don’t have a first checked bag fee, they’re friendly, I’ve never had an issue, and they serve complimentary alcohol on some flights! Southwest I like because of their Wanna Get Away flights, usually it’s pretty cheap to fly PDX-Vegas and back.