Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Look Beyond Orbitz/AA: Delta Pulls Inventory Off Three Other OTAs

The current fight between American Airlines (AA) and Orbitz Worldwide (OWW) and Travelport by default has been well publicized. In a nutshell, after winning a hearing in court yesterday, AA canceled Orbitz' ability to sell tickets on the Orbitz family of websites including, and The dispute revolves around how AA distributes inventory to Orbitz, both financially and technically.

To date, AA has been a lone wolf in this area with scant public support from any other airlines. Unlike in many other airline moves where one moves on Tuesday and the rest of the industry follows by Friday (think commission caps, bag fees, change fees etc) AA has stood alone.

Until yesterday.

In an amazing coincidence, Delta Air Lines (DL) yesterday announced that they would pull their inventory off of three smaller OTAs:, and

Delta has made it clear that they value some distribution points more than others. These three websites generate a significant amount of traffic from meta and click-off search sites such as, and - we can imagine that Delta probably tired of seeing these smaller, less relevant websites listed alongside (and other, larger OTAs) as a booking option.

By flexing their distribution muscle and removing inventory from these sites, Delta is making a calculated move that they will be able to continue to sell the inventory currently sold through these websites elsewhere, and in particular,

We would bet doughnuts to dollars (just by the URL names alone) that the vast majority of tickets sold through these sites are low-yield tickets. As anyone in the airline business knows, airlines don't need help selling more $39 tickets to Orlando. There is nearly insatiable demand for low-fare tickets and consumers visit multiple websites in the hunt for these fares - Delta is banking that consumers will still find their low fares elsewhere, and hopefully that will be

And, if those same consumers don't visit (or another OTA) there are plenty of other consumers who will those same cheap fares - airlines can fill planes all day long with $39 fares without any help from an OTA.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chasing Delta Medallion Status? Qualifying Miles for Charity Donations!

Delta is offering up to 15,000 miles towards status (not just regular old frequent flyer miles but status miles that push you towards Gold or Silver Medallion status which means free upgrades, no checked bag fees and the like) for donations to three Atlanta based charities.

Donate $500 or more and earn 5,000 status miles (or MQMs in Delta parlayance) - donate $500 to all three and earn 15,000 status miles. Given Silver Medallion status starts at 25K miles and Gold at 50K, this is a pretty good way to get the basic tier or bump up to a higher tier, particularly if you haven't flown much this year. Oh, and there is the tax write-off which, at least for many living in New York and other high tax areas makes the bite pretty reasonable. And, best of all, there is the do-good feeling!

Donation links are below:


Expedia Jumps into Flash Sales - ASAP - A Sudden Amazing Price

Just when you thought there were not enough flash sale sites out there, Expedia has jumped into the fray with a slightly different model. Expedia is calling their program ASAP - a cute moniker for "A Sudden Amazing Price." ASAP offers an even shorter purchase window (12 hours) than industry pioneer In addition, ASAP is open to all consumers rather than the Jetsetter (and others) private sale version which requires registration.

Interestingly, Expedia is promoting ASAP as a short-term program between today and December 17th. Does this mean ASAP is not a long term program? Given the high placement on the Expedia home page and in other places throughout the site, we expect it will be around beyond the holidays...