Everything is about to change in the way you find airfares cheap. The way airlines have been trying to make a few extra dollars charging you for access to the lounge, checked bags and everything else, finding a cheap airfare is these days only the first step to an affordable trip. And to do even that, you need to constantly look up several websites to make sure that you have the best deal you can get. That’s where change is about to occur.
The thing is, the airlines are tired of having to pay websites like Cheap Holidays 24 or Orbitz to have their fares listed. The airlines, as they see it, have a valuable product; they can’t see why they shouldn’t be able to sell their seats themselves. And then of course, there is Google that wants to be a player in the air travel search business and there are new companies like Vayant that want to do traditional travel search, only, with way more options than you have ever used.
At the forefront of how the airline industry is trying to sell its own tickets by itself is American Airlines. They want to cut out the middleman that the travel websites represent and do their ticket sales themselves. This would of course help them cut costs – in that they won’t have to pay the travel websites anything to be listed. If this move actually works (websites like Expedia no longer list American) the airlines will begin to be in control of their own destiny and will be pretty powerful. In that case, the airlines will try to attract their customers by offering special fares only on their own websites. It’s a fundamental shift in the way you have come to learn to find airfares cheap.
Of course, if there is no one single place where you can compare all the airfares to a destination, it is likely that you won’t do all the searching needed. It is likely that you will go to just a couple of airline websites, grow tired of the whole process and buy whatever seems cheaper at the moment. And that is exactly what the airlines hope for. They hope that by making it difficult for you to compare their fares with those of the other airlines, you’ll no longer be as demanding with getting airfares cheap.
American Airlines though wants to put a different spin on it. They want their customers to think that they are moving out of the travel websites because they no longer want to be compared with the other airlines based on merely what they charge. They claim that they offer a valuable service and they resent how the travel websites compare them on price alone. They also feel that given full control over their ticket sales, they can offer different customers freebies and discounts that they would most appreciate. A traveling family for instance might really appreciate free checked baggage.
As far as the airlines are concerned, being merely reduced to a commodity and being compared on price alone is a nightmare. There is no brand loyalty that way.