Fasten your seat belts, because United Airlines is planning to depart from Expedia on October 1st.
“Expedia has historically been very good in selling our lowest fares. But quite honestly we think we can sell our lowest fares just as well,” said Andrew Nocella, United’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer, during the airline’s first-quarter earnings call yesterday. The decision comes following a breakdown in negotiations between the legacy carrier and the online travel agency (OTA).
“Companies need to evolve and innovate, and we here at United changed a lot,” he said. “We have invested in our own website and our app and continue to develop much more cost-effective and transparent and optimal sales abilities to distribute our content.”
This decision would impact more than just Expedia.com. Other websites owned by Expedia Group that would stop selling United Airlines tickets include Orbitz, CheapTickets, Travelocity, and Hotwire.
United joins discount carrier Southwest Airlines, which doesn’t appeared on the travel booking site, either.
OTAs like Expedia started flourishing after the recession when airlines were facing higher fuel costs and falling ticket sales. Companies partnered with OTAs to offer low-cost, basic economy seats in order to fill planes. The economy is stronger now, so experts note that there’s less need to sell through these discount websites.
Bargain Travel for Families Is Still Available
The creation of OTAs was a great help to families who were searching for discounts but didn’t want to use a traditional travel agent. With a few clicks, they could view airfare, hotel, and car rentals offers on one screen for easy price comparisons.
But never fear — that option is still available for fans of United Airlines, just not through Expedia.
“We will continue to work with OTAs,” a United spokesperson told Parentology, noting that more than 70 million
United tickets were purchased last year through metasearch sites like Kayak or Google Flights and other OTAs. “In fact, we recently signed an extension with Travelport. While we didn’t reach a new agreement with Expedia, consumers can still shop on a multitude of other popular sites like Google Flights, Kayak, SkyScanner, Priceline, Fareportal and others in addition to United channels.”
Expedia did not return an email request for comment as of this writing.
There could be a chance at reconciliation. Travel Weekly noted that the two companies almost parted ways in 2016, but then extended their contract two days before it was set to expire. However, right now that doesn’t look likely.