American, Expedia end three-month dispute

/ Source: The Associated Press

American Airlines and online travel company Expedia on Monday put an end to their three-month old dispute, reaching an agreement that returns the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline's flights to Expedia and Hotwire.

American and Bellevue, Wash.-based Expedia Inc. announced the agreement in a joint statement but did not disclose the terms.

American, which is owned by AMR Corp., has been trying for months to lower the commissions it pays online travel sites for each ticket booked. In December, it stopped selling tickets through Orbitz as part of the push. A week later, Expedia removed American from its listings in an apparent move of solidarity.

The airline and Orbitz have not resolved their differences and American's tickets are still absent from that site.

Experts said that while American might save money by not having to pay the commissions, it could lose passengers to other airlines if people couldn't find its flights. American has not said if it has had any decline in bookings because of the dispute. There could be an indication of that when the airline reports quarterly earnings later this month.

About a third of U.S. fliers book their tickets on independent travel sites. Some low-cost airlines, such as Southwest Airlines Co., have managed to fill planes without partnering with travel sites like Expedia or Orbitz because deal-seekers will often check the airlines' websites directly for fares.