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Orbitz Joins the Great Airfare Booking Fee Drop of '09

April 8, 2009 at 12:35 PM | by | ()

Forget a battle of the airfare wars; the desperation to pack people on planes has reached new lows with even the airfare booking sites coming to blows. In order to scrounge up the business of people still traveling, sites like Expedia/Hotwire and Travelocity began dropping their booking fees in March, with Orbitz/CheapTickets late to the table this week. While these fees are typically under $10 per ticket and barely perceptible when you're dropping some dough on first class or multi-segment, the elimination of them seems a genuinely altruistic thing to do in this economy.

On one hand, Priceline has had this policy in place for some time, but the freedom to search many sites and book at will means happy camper customers. How will the individual site's deals work out for you? Let's take a look at the stipulations:

· Expedia: No booking fees on all, international and domestic, airline ticket purchases through May 31.
· Travelocity: No booking fees on all, international and domestic, airline ticket purchases through May 31.
· Priceline: As part of a policy in place for about the last two years, Priceline consistently does not charge airline booking fees.
· Orbitz: No booking fees on most airline ticket purchases through May 31. Exempted from this, meaning you'll still pay the fee, are routes utilizing multiple airlines and flight originating outside of the US, Canada, Mexico and Caribbean (sorry, internationals).

Altogether, it looks as though Orbitz is still drawing the short straw. This is actually no wonder, since the Wall Street Journal states that Citigroup analyst Mark S. Mahaney "said he believes the fees account for as much as 60% of Orbitz's operating profit."

Oh Orbitz, we used to love your commercials, but now we feel unsure about your future. Come the end of these promotions on May 31, we'll see then which online booking sites are eating their own and raising the white flag.

Related Stories:
· Orbitz Joins Others in Waiving Booking Fees [WSJ]
· Orbitz matches rivals by suspending booking fees [BizWeek]
· Orbitz to Waive Booking Fees Through May [Chicago Tribune]
· Airfare Booking Sites Coverage [Jaunted]

[Image: Orbitz]

Archived Comments:

im loyal

I tend to go with Travelocity but never really noticed the fees.