Delta Pulls Listings From Three Travel Sites

Things are starting to get ugly in the battle between airlines and travel-booking websites. Less than one week after American Airlines pulled its listings from, Delta has announced its flights will no longer be listed on three other sites.

The sites —,, and — are small when compared to the user base of Orbitz, but could represent the thin edge of the wedge as airlines aim to push customers to booking directly on their sites and away from third-party sites that receive commissions from the airlines for each fare.

There has been some push back from the booking sites. After American bailed on Orbitz, fellow travel site responded by burying American’s listings on the site.

“American Airlines has shown it only intends to do business with travel agencies through a new model that is anti-consumer and anti-choice,” wrote Expedia about its decision.

In recent months, Southwest Airlines has been using TV ads to hype the fact that consumers can only buy Southwest tickets online through the carrier’s website.

The war in the air: Delta joins American as latest airline to drop travel booking sites [NY Daily News]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Begun, the Airline Wars have.

  2. Marlin says:

    In recent months, Southwest Airlines has been using TV ads to hype the fact that consumers can only buy Southwest tickets online through the carrier’s website.

    SW also hypes they have no baggage fees, when are others gonna jump on that bandwagon?

  3. zmnatz says:

    Never understood the Southwest ads. How is it a good thing I can’t find your airlines rates on Kayak again? I have no issue with not selling tickets through Orbitz and other travel sites. All I want is to not have to go to every airline individually to find prices.

    • Southern says:

      I only book with the individual airline.. That way if there’s a screwup, you’re talking directly to the carrier, not some 3rd party who may, or may not, make things right.

      That and that fact that I don’t think I’ve seen any other airline beat SouthWests fares. Ever. Equal to, yes, but never beat. And that’s before any possible baggage fees that you don’t have to pay for on SW.

      • MrEvil says:

        Not only that, but Southwest is a much better airline by far than the others. Nicer seats with more leg room.

        Also, some of their routes are slightly more expensive than other carriers. I flew from Austin to San Jose and Southwest was about $50 higher than Alaska. Not sure how much Alaska charges for checked bags. Glad the company was willing to pay for Southwest.

    • ARP says:

      Not to assume you’re obtuse, but that’s exactly what they’re trying to prevent. If it takes you 2-5 minutes to price each individual fare, they know you’ll give up and just buy on the one you subjectively like best, that’s most convenient, that you already have miles with etc.

      In essence, they’re trying to make comparison shopping that much more difficult. They probably pine for 80’s when you had to call airlines to get prices, or go to a travel agency. They know Americans (people, not airline) are lazy and will go with the devil they know.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Does it matter whether Orbitz gets a fee or a travel agent gets a fee? Seems the same results either way.

      • Nogard13 says:

        Airlines are hemorraging money and haven’t made a profit in a long time. The only profitable airlines in 2009 were: AirTran, Alaska, Southwest and jetBlue. The other five (US Airways, Continental, United, Delta and American) actually lost money.

        If they have to pay an online booking agent a fee then that is less money going to their bottom lines. I can’t argue with a business that is operating at a loss when they make a decision to stop paying a site a fee for a service that they offer on their own websites. Again, aggregators can compile the data, but the airlines want you to purchase from them in order to keep the $5-10 they pay the booking agents now.

        • ARP says:

          True- I think I’m projecting/predicting that aggregators will be the next to go. SW already does this with Kayak. It’s already more difficult to compare now when you have luggage. I just see the industry moving to a more closed (and less comparable system) in the long term.

    • Nogard13 says:

      Airlines don’t have a problem with aggregators (sites that only publish the fares, not book them for you), only with having to pay a fee to sites such as Orbitz for booking a flight that the customer could’ve booked themselves (sans fee) on the airline’s website.

      I see this trend continuing and sites such as Orbitz will have to become aggregators for airline information instead of booking them directly. They’ll have to make their money off other means (hotels, cruises, rental cars) or have to resort to charging a fee or using advertising as their revenue source.

    • LoadStar says:

      Agreed. That particular ad annoys me. One of the Southwest pilots ends the commercial with “You want to fly all over, you don’t want to browse all over.” You’re right, pilot dude. I don’t, but because Southwest isn’t being listed along side the other airlines on the aggregate websites, I kind of have to. That line kind of screamed “completely missing the point.”

  4. ARP says:

    Kudos to Expedia for burying American prices after what they did to their competitor, Orbitz.

  5. Bativac says:

    I’ll stick to Southwest. In my experience, they have the best customer service and, 9 times out of 10, the best rate.

    I’ll never willingly fly Delta again as long as I live.

    • nova3930 says:

      Oh how I wish Southwest would start offering international service, even if it was only to the Caribbean….

      • ClaudeKabobbing says:

        In the next year when AirTran merger is complete there will be some carribean routes.

        • nova3930 says:

          Already have airtran at my closest airport. Problem is it doesn’t go through their hub in Atlanta so the only place in the Caribbean you can get to is San Jaun, PR.

          The direct flights to Orlando and Baltimore are nice though….

    • Oh_Noes! says:

      Southwest only has the best rate on last minute travel.
      If you book at least a month in advance all the other airlines are cheaper, except for maybe some small farm town airports.

  6. Santoanderson says:

    Delta is by far the AT&T of the skies. So if this means that I’ll get less of an opportunity to fly with them, good for me.

  7. Consumeristing says:

    This sucks. I don’t have time to trawl through eleventy billion airline sites. Please keep or since I book mostly international flights.

  8. fs2k2isfun says:

    I’m not sure why anyone books through a site like Orbitz or Expedia in the first place. Book directly with the airline, remove the middleman, and there’s one less person to blame when problems arise.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      If the price is comparable, I’d rather book directly with the airline but I’ve been on flights booked through a third party tand maybe it’s just luck, but we haven’t had a problem so far.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Because in some cases you get a brick wall with an ainline when problems arise, and the 3rd party will actually advocate for you. And sometimes, the opposite happens.

    • ARP says:

      I’ll book with Expedia or Orbitz when I’m doing a multi-leg journey and the airlines don’t have a carrier agreement in place (these are usually fairly exotic locales), so I have one person help fix things if there’s a problem.

    • Mom says:

      I usually don’t book through them, but I’ll use those sites to get a general comparison of what’s available. If an airline doesn’t show up in the comparison, I’m probably not going to go to their site directly.

      Except for Southwest, of course.

      • Gramin says:

        Hey Mom! Sorry I didn’t call you back last night. I was a bit busy. I’ll try to call later tonight.

        Now, in regards to your post, have you used Bing? Go to the Bing travel section and search for flights; and if you’re flexible, use the flexible search tool. It’s simply AMAZING!

  9. HB says:

    Go go airlines! If they can distribute their fees only and handle the bookings directly, this WILL save consumers money. And if the airlines can pull it off, the hotels won’t be far behind.

    • anonyname says:

      Of course, those kind and generous airlines will pass on every dollar of savings by reducing fares accordingly. They would never, ever think of keeping extra money for themselves. Never.

      • HB says:

        Airlines still have that little nagging thing called “competition” — if sites like kayak are still listing flights side by side with the rates displayed, airlines know they’ll have to have competitive pricing.

  10. amandaedodge says:

    I think Southwest should embrace travel websites. I used in Europe and I would click on the 7 Euro Ryanair flight somewhere before I would even think about the 50 Euro Spanair flight to the same place. If you have incredibly low prices, it pays to compare yourself to the competition.

  11. kitty litter says:

    Delta followed by AA are two of the worst airlines in my opinion and you couldn’t pay me to fly on either so I give this a “meh” and hope the heads of both, read this.

  12. vizsladog says:

    But be sure to disable your cookies (if they’ll let you). I think the airlines track what we do very closely.

    I have had flights magically disappear from view when booking…For example: ticket from Ithaca, NY to Portland Oregon when bought as a through fare on US Airways is much more expensive than buying a ticket from Ithaca to LaGuardia and then a ticket from LGA to PDX. The problem is, when you try to “split” the ticket on line the old connecting flight disappears….go to a different computer and Voila! there it is! Maybe others have had similar experiences………..?

  13. mbgrabbe says:

    Oh god, please don’t let this battle affect Kayak… its been so good to me.

  14. davidsco says:

    Don’t know why anyone books through those sites anyway. There are no deals, and the commissions they charge are extortion. Use them to compare, then book at the hotel or Airline site. I’ve seen some of them make you pay in advance for rates you can get without having to do that on the company’s own site

  15. Bodger says:

    Seems pretty simple. If I can’t search for flights and fares then I can’t book. If I can’t book on airlines A or D then there is more business for, say, airlines B or C. Then again, given the way that so many airlines are overbooking and are unable to serve their present fliers, maybe they are actually trying to drive customers away to re-balance.

  16. Bernardo says:

    So its a pain in the ass to get to the gate thanks to the TSA. Then your screwed with the fees. Add that to the sudden no apologies cancelations. The god given right to detain you on a tarmac until the TSA allows you to leave. Now they are making it even harder to buy tickets. I swear if there was a viable alternative to flying the industry would fail in a month. Thankfully for them we are stuck with them, with no real alternitives. NYC has its unions, America has the Airline industry. Both own the government and both have no fear of destroying millions of holiday plans people have.

    Oddly, you cant really cut off the airline industry anymore than you can cut off the NYC sanitation dept or MTA if you depend on mass transit. Besides becoming super rich and havign your own jets and airfields and taking cabs every where. But really how many of us wanna leave that carbon foot print behiend? And can afford it.

  17. Mcshonky says:

    American business is so short sighted.

    I don’t have time to look at every possible airline site for fares.

    Besides some airlines don’t go to where I may be headed and I won’t find that out until after I search.

    Pay the few dollars you damn cheap bastards.

    You’re raking in dough like a drug dealer.

    Share the wealth you no good, baggage fare charging, meal deleting schmucks.

  18. daemonaquila says:

    I guess we know which airlines will *definitely* lose my business. I’m not going to go directly to various airlines to shop around. Also, through the sites I’ve been able to get seats on flights that are not available on the companies’ own websites, or they’re cheaper. Most importantly, I was able to get a friend tickets through Travelocity when he and his wife were bumped… and bumped… They had to be back that day, no matter what, and he wasn’t allowed to buy other airlines’ tickets at the counter because the flights were leaving “too soon.” However, there was no problem buying tickets online through a 3rd party and then printing them out at a kiosk and getting on the plane.

  19. AllanG54 says:

    Years ago I used to be a part time travel agent and one day the airlines said they weren’t going to pay the lousy 6% commission for writing a ticket. So…I stopped doing it and in today’s market if a person needs to have a ticket from a travel agency they’re probably going to pay $25-$35 extra for it, even if it’s still an online ticket. Those commissions cost the airlines a lot of dough. It only takes a few minutes to go through a few sites and book at the lowest price.

  20. stevied says:

    American Airlines has shown it only intends to do business with travel agencies through a new model that is anti-consumer and anti-choice,” wrote Expedia about its decision.

    Actually it is pro-consumer in that American Airlines can avoid giving a 3rd party broker a slice of the profit. The profits can be retained by AA or used to offset features and services OR lower the price AA sells their own service.

    Of course Orbitz and Expedia ain’t happy, but too bad.

    I wish more airlines would follow Southwest and not allow 3rd party selling of their services.

  21. pattymc says:

    So many businesses missed the boat years ago. The airlines and/or the travel industry could have made their own booking site(s) but they were clueless. Now they aim to gut the booking industry. I highly doubt that that whatever version they came up with would be as efficient as the existing third party sites. I’m sure we will see these battles played out in other venues as well. I see nothing good coming from putting the tech into the hands of the clueless and shutting out the innovators.

    • HB says:

      Actually, it was the airlines that invented the GDSs well before the internet was a thought.

      The internet has turned many consumer objects into commodities, but the retailers and service providers are starting to fight back — and (thankfully) they’re winning. While not in the airlines business, my company is in the travel space, and the current GDS/Switch/Distribution channels are forcing businesses to raise their rates to consumers. Furthermore, sites like Expedia are lobbying to maintain their low fees by not having to charge local taxes like the hotel itself.

      The same applies to merchant account fees — there are so many middlemen that tack on their fees in that space that the merchants are forced to raise prices. In the end, this all affects consumers.

      If we had to go directly to 3-5 airline websites and price compare, would that really be the worst thing in the world? Every company is about profit, but every company also wants to be competitively priced — and in the end, it’s the middlemen that are currently adding 3-5% (or more) to the price you pay for many of these “commodity” purchases.

  22. Farleyboy007 says:

    Fine with me, all i ever do is check expedia/orbitz for the cheapest fare, and then go book directly anyways. Typically the price is the same and sometimes even cheaper. Also, orbitz can eat it, they screwed me over on a flight change and almost $300 of mine disappeared, in addition to the flight i had to pay for out of pocket that was “to be reimbursed.” it wasn’t.