Amer­i­can vs. trav­elWeb sites; trav­el­ers vs. air­port se­cu­rity

The Washington Post Sunday - - F2 - Re­port­ing: Nancy Tre­jos. Help feed CoGo. Send travel news to: cogo@wash­

Amer­i­can dumps Or­b­itz

The fight be­tween Amer­i­can

Air­lines and on­line travel agen­cies has got­ten ugly.

Af­ter fail­ing to agree on a con­tract with Or­b­itz, Amer­i­can an­nounced on Dec. 21 that it

would im­me­di­ately dis­con­tinue dis­play­ing and sell­ing fares through theWeb site and its sub­sidiary Or­b­itz for Busi­ness.

A few­days later, Ex­pe­dia, ina show of sol­i­dar­ity with Or­b­itz, be­gan list­ing Amer­i­can’s flights and sched­ules last in its search dis­play, af­ter those of other air­lines.

Amer­i­can had been try­ing to take greater con­trol of the way it sells tick­ets by pres­sur­ing Or­b­itz to use the air­line’s elec­tronic pipe­line, called AA Di­rect Con­nect, to han­dle trans­ac­tions. Air­lines typ­i­cally pay on­line sell­ers com­mis­sions, plus fees to the global dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies that pro­vide the flight in­for­ma­tion. AA Di­rect Con­nect would cut out the global dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tems.

“In to­day’s com­pet­i­tive mar­ket­place, it is im­por­tant for Amer­i­can to be free to cus­tom­ize its prod­uct of­fer­ings to im­prove the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence as well as dis­trib­ute its prod­ucts in a way that does not re­sult in un­nec­es­sary costs,” Derek DeCross, vice pres­i­dent of sales for Amer­i­can, said in a writ­ten state­ment.

Coun­tered Ex­pe­dia: “Amer­i­can Air­lines has shown it only in­tends to do busi­ness with travel agen­cies through a new model that is anti-con­sumer and anti-choice. We be­lieve Amer­i­can Air­lines’ pro­posed di­rect con­nect model will re­sult in higher costs and re­duced trans­parency for con­sumers, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to com­pare AA ticket prices and op­tions with of­fer­ings by other air­lines.”

Tick­ets al­ready pur­chased through Or­b­itz re­main valid, but trav­el­ers will have to make any changes through Amer­i­can Air­lines reser­va­tions at 800-433-7300.

The year of travel woes

Those air­port pat-downs and body scan­ners are re­ally hit­ting a nerve.

Ac­cord­ing to a newU.S. Travel As­so­ci­a­tion sur­vey, three in four trav­el­ers be­lieve that “there has to be a bet­ter­way” to con­duct se­cu­rity screen­ing. Eight in 10 would sup­port a trusted trav­eler pro­gram that would pro­vide al­ter­nate screen­ing mea­sures forU.S. cit­i­zens who sub­mit to a back­ground check and meet other cri­te­ria.

Among other find­ings: Trav­el­ers dis­like hav­ing to re­move their shoes be­fore go­ing through ame­tal de­tec­tor even more than the newTSA pat­downs. And three in four sup­port re­cruit­ing more pro­fes­sional se­cu­rity per­son­nel who are trained to use ob­ser­va­tion, dogs and so­phis­ti­cated com­puter analy­ses as screen­ing tech­niques.

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