The Expedia Group is an online travel agency (OTA) that book reservations for airlines, hotels, rental cars and the like. Since last spring, United Airlines had been trying to break up the marriage that was due to end this September 30th.
The Expedia Group includes many popular booking sites like:
- Home Away
United Airlines attempts to break up the marriage
Expedia had been working off an eight-year contract with United Airlines. Last April, United sought to stop the OTA from selling the lowest United fares. United was to exclude Expedia from fares after the September 30, 2019 contract expiration. To do so, United would have to pull these fares months in advance as tickets for travel on or after October 1, 2019, were in the booking window.
Expedia sought an injunction against United earlier this past summer and lost in Federal Court. There was the possibility that Expedia could have sought a breach of contract court case against United. United Airlines was unhappy with the contract terms and the move was likely to gain a more lucrative arrangement prior to the expiration of the current contract.
Disagreements between airlines and OTAs are nothing new. Online travel agents function as airline fare aggregators. Expedia and Orbitz have been down this road before with American Airlines. In a 2011 court hearing, Expedia contended that they would suffer irreparable harm to their business and reputation if they couldn’t sell tickets on American. In actuality, Expedia profits were only impacted for a short period of time. This fact may have influenced the Judge in the United Airlines matter to deny the injunction in favor of Expedia.
A New Multi-year Agreement
“Expedia Group announces today that it has signed a new, multi-year agreement with United Airlines, which operates flights to nearly 360 destinations in 57 countries. This new agreement ushers in an expanded relationship, meeting the strategic objectives of both companies and benefiting travelers around the world.
The agreement continues Expedia Group’s leisure distribution with United, expands United’s relationship with Expedia Partner Solutions, builds on United’s relationship with Egencia, Expedia Group’s corporate travel business, and the companies will work to expand cooperation into other areas in the near future.”
Southwest Airlines does not sell tickets through OTAs and Jet Blue limits the OTAs that sell their tickets.
If you are a loyal Expedia customer, you will still be able to book your United Airlines tickets using Expedia.