Having been around the world, Orbitz is right back where it started. The popular online travel site was all set to go public last year before a weak market grounded all outgoing flights. Orbitz did what any laid-over air passenger would do: It sighed, cracked open a bag of peanuts, and waited out the storm.

With the market regaining that IPO tingle, Orbitz is back, and this time it's got a ticket to ride. The company amended its registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission and now looks to raise $125 million in its stock market debut.

And why not? The online travel sector has been hot, with such proven portals as InterActive's Expedia and Travelocity parent Sabre Holdings (NYSE:TSG) faring well on Wall Street. Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN) has appreciated sixfold since bottoming last year.

But before you start rallying around Orbitz, know what you're boarding. Most of its travel-site peers have won investors over by making money, but the same can't be said of Orbitz. Last year, the company posted a loss of $17.9 million on $175.5 million in revenue. Expedia, on the other hand, produced $21 million in earnings on $164 million in revenue.

Why the disparity? Is it because Orbitz was founded by a collection of airlines such as UAL (NYSE:UAL) and Delta (NYSE:DAL) that have been groomed to bleed money? No, Orbitz was just late to the party. By the time the company emerged on the portal scene, Travelocity and Expedia had already carved out the market and signed the exclusivity contracts worth signing.

So think twice before buying a seat on this flight. Orbitz must go farther than full circle to get investors where they want to go.

With Orbitz getting ready to raise $125 million in its dusted-off IPO, did someone say "road trip"? Got tips for traveling on the cheap? Want to know where the air travel bargains are? All this and more -- in the Cheap Air Fares discussion board. Only on Fool.com.

You can find more information on Orbitz -- and many more travel services providers -- in our Travel Center. Meanwhile, The Motley Fool is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month with 10 Ways to Make More Money Now!