December 22 - Media Update: American Airlines / Travelport Ruling


MEDIA UPDATE

Business Travel Coalition

AMERICAN AIRLINES / TRAVELPORT RULING

December 22, 2010

9:30am(ET)

BTC Statement Update

According to press reports, American Airlines (AA) yesterday pulled its fares from Orbitz immediately following the court’s ruling in the AA/Travelport litigation that lifted a temporary restraining order previously issued.However, the $800 million in sales Orbitz delivers to AA may not be a true proxy for the revenue at risk for AA.

According to a May 2010 PhoCusWright report, 87% of travelers start their shopping process on the Internet. What’s more, some 28% of shoppers at online travel agencies (e.g., Orbitz) end up purchasing on suppliers’ websites.

The point: Consumers who start the shopping process on Orbitz before going to airline.com will now completely miss AA offerings and end up on AA competitors’ websites. This could represent a much bigger number than AA is willing to acknowledge.

“American acts as if it's the country's biggest airline when it's really number four and falling.  Consumers may not even know American's flights are missing.  The ones who will gain the most here are American's competitors who will enjoy feasting this Christmas on turkey served up by American.  Delta, United, Southwest and others should be grateful for this early Christmas present,” stated BTC Chairman Kevin Mitchell.

“American’s decision to immediately pull its flight information from Orbitz shows that it has near-zero interest in preserving an open and transparent marketplace. It is an outrageous act that will negatively impact consumers nationwide who are in the midst of comparison-shopping for their holiday travel. Moreover, if a consumer booked an American flight on Orbitz, and now needs to change it, she will need to work through American Airlines Reservations, and then go back to Orbitz for hotel and rental car changes. That’s a recipe for huge consumer confusion and frustration right in the heart of the holiday season,” added Mitchell. 

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