American Airlines (AA) has made a new ticket deal with Priceline.com that may have significant influence on skiers and snowboarders who buy air travel online for their winter vacations. But, the good news is you won't notice any change. OnTheSnow's Pat Turner Kavanaugh reported earlier this week on the month-long dispute between AA and online travel companies such as Expedia and Orbitz.
You, as a consumer, will not notice any difference in the way airline fares are booked, a Priceline spokesman told us. Priceline, in a backend (behind the scenes) transaction that does not affect the buyer, simply purchases the ticket from the airline directly. "It's totally seamless," he said.
What's the reason? Distribution costs will be reduced for the airline, and the potential role of the travel sites might be diminished. Clearly, travel agencies aren't excited about all this because of a loss of control during the transaction.
A story in Medill Reports suggests other online travel agencies could be forced to comply with American's requests, too. Orbitz and Expedia are currently not allowed to feature AA fares because of a dispute with the carrier. The airline's tickets were removed from both travel sites in December after neither site agreed to the new system.
Analysts are telling various travel "insider" publications they expect other airlines will take a "wait and see" approach to how the new deal with AA and Priceline plays out. Airline ticket buying will be in much more control of the airlines if the new system does work, just as it was before Internet travel heated up.
"They (the airlines) can have that purchase on their systems, collect more data about the person flying, and offer them additional services and products for their flight," one analyst told Medill Reports.
OnTheSnow will continue to follow developments in this story as it affects your trip to the mountains.