The study of 1,500 travelers found that 60% began their shopping at either one of the online agencies -- Expedia was the most popular -- or at a search engine such as Google
Yeah, I know. You're skeptical. You should be. After all, Delta
But is this study really all that hard to believe? It shouldn't be. Remember, when Northwesthiked ticket fees in August, missing from the list of places where you'd have to pay more for booking a flight was -- yep, that's right -- the Web. The airlines and lodging chains such as Hilton and Starwood want their customers paying them a digital visit. And some, such as JetBlue and Southwest, pretty much strong-arm travelers into booking fares at their sites or through their call centers.
Apparently, business travelers don't mind. Though that's bad news for the online travel agencies, it's probably the best news the airlines have gotten in months. It seems they've actually found a profit center they can control by themselves. Now if they can just hold on to it.
For related Foolishness:
- It won't get any easier for the online agencies when Time Warner's AOL unit launches its own travel portal next year.
- Does anyone really getTravelzoo?
- It may be too late for you to enjoy a Four Seasonshoneymoon, though your European vacation might include a jackpot at 30,000 feet.
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Fool contributor Tim Beyers doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned, but he has family members who are retired from United Airlines. You can view his Fool profile and stock holdings here.
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