Expedia Suspends American Airlines Sales

The battle between American Airlines and online travel agencies escalated after Expedia.com suspended sales of American flights as of Jan. 1, after its contract with the carrier expired.

The two companies are continuing talks over new contract terms.

While some companies might continue to do business under their previous terms while they renegotiate a new contract, friction between the online travel-selling community has heated up.

Before the latest move, Expedia had earlier last week removed American's fare information from initial search displays, making it difficult to compare American fares with those of other carriers.

Expedia acted after American revoked the ticketing authority of online agency Orbitz because it refused to connect with the airline directly, thereby bypassing the large ticket processing firms used by virtually all major travel companies.

Expedia says in a statement it believes American's strategy is "anti-consumer and anti-choice."

"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," Expedia says.

"We cannot support efforts that we believe are fundamentally bad for travelers," the online travel agency adds.

Photo, pylon757, flickr

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