Expedia and American Fly Through the Turbulence

The months long feud between Expedia (Nasdaq: EXPE  ) and American Airlines parent AMR (NYSE: AMR  ) is over.

The two parties are ready to begin working together again, agreeing to let Expedia visitors book flights on American and American Eagle.

Portals and legacy carriers haven't been playing nice since December, when AMR broke free from Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE: OWW  ) over pricing and rate publishing methods. Expedia's Hotwire and its namesake portal joined Orbitz in offering American-free deals. Airlines naturally want to book passengers directly to save on commissions, but they also risk losing potential passengers if their rates and schedules aren't available on the popular travel booking websites.

AMR wasn't blackballed everywhere. The "name your price" juggernaut Priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN  ) never stopped publishing American flights. Kayak, Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Bing Travel, and other comparison shopping sites never missed a beat. Travel deals publisher Travelzoo (Nasdaq: TZOO  ) didn't face any new restrictions in lining up its subsidized offers.

However, a tussle between one of the largest airlines and one of the largest travel portals was ultimately damaging to consumers. No one likes uncertainty, and that's just what happens when a portal visitor isn't sure to be receiving all of the available options.

The end of one battle doesn't mean that the war is over. AMR and Orbitz have yet to make nice. In fact, Orbitz parted ways with auto rental giant Enterprise on its site just last week.

No one said it wouldn't be a bumpy flight.

Who do you think is right in this battle? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Priceline.com is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Motley Fool Alpha LLC owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been leaning on travel websites since the 1990s. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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