American Airlines' decision to end its ticketing agreement with Orbitz and Orbitz for Business after the companies failed to come to terms on an agreement whereby Orbitz would access AA via the carrier's direct connection "will lead to higher prices and confusion for corporations, business travelers and consumers alike," according to the National Business Travel Association.
"NBTA is also concerned that recent actions by Delta Air Lines to pull their inventory from three smaller online travel agencies
is a prelude to other airlines taking steps that will ultimately harm the business travel industry," the association stated.
"Travelers wanting to fly American will now need to bounce back and forth across multiple websites to book a trip," it continued. "American's decision does nothing to help business travelers or their employers--it adds an unnecessary obstacle to smooth business travel booking and will lead to higher costs in the end. NBTA believes it is critical to maintain a fair, transparent and competitive buying environment for business travel, and American's decision is in direct opposition to this goal."
The statement, attributed to Mike McCormick, executive director and COO of the group, also praised the role of global distribution systems in business travel procurement.
"Airline mandated 'direct connects' that bypass the existing distribution systems will result in a significant increase in capital expenditure that business travel buyers will ultimately bear," according to NBTA. "In addition, businesses that rely on information to negotiate for and maintain airline discount programs will be challenged in their ability to track volume and enforce travel policies."
"We will be releasing a comprehensive position on behalf of our members related to these concerns in the new year," McCormick added.