Monday, January 10, 2011

American Airlines feud: bad news for consumers

American Airlines wants travel agents and consumers to buy tickets directly from its online site rather than online travel agencies such as Orbitz, Expedia or Travelocity, which offer a broad choice of airlines, ticket prices and flight times. Podcast: Find low-priced fares as American Airlines fights travel sites.

As anyone who’s bought tickets online knows, those travel agencies offer discounts, plus a convenient means of choosing which flights, and which airlines to fly. We use these websites to make purchases based on price. American wants you to buy based on services.

“American is forcing a situation where you almost have to roll back the clock [to] where it makes it more hard for the consumer to access comprehensive fare and schedule information,” said Mike McCormick, executive director of the National Business Travel Association.

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