American Airlines: “We want the customer to know what the total cost of the trip is”

Cory Garner is the director of distribution strategy for American Airlines. You may have heard about American removing its flights from Orbitz this week and Expedia’s subsequent action to “de-emphasize” American’s fares. I wanted to find out why – and how it might affect customers. Here’s our interview.

Why did you remove your flights from Orbitz?

It’s important for us to be free to customize our product offerings to improve the customer experience, and to distribute our products in a way that doesn’t result in unnecessary costs.

Unfortunately, we were unable to reach an agreement with Orbitz on this point and determined it would be better to part ways, for now. We’re open to talking with them to reach a viable, mutually beneficial agreement and hope to one day return to their site.

How about yesterday’s action by Expedia to de-emphasize your fares?

We’re disappointed that Expedia is making American Airlines flights and fares more difficult to find on its website.

This discriminatory action is unwarranted, especially considering that American has taken no action against [it] and continues to operate in good faith with Expedia.

While tickets for air travel on American remain available for purchase on Expedia, its favoritism toward other airlines’ airfares may lead consumers into believing that they have fewer choices, even in situations where American’s fares are lower, and schedules are superior, than other airlines that are listed first.
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