Topic Author
Posts: 2503
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2000 3:11 am

Orbitz - Every Right To Do What They're Doing.

Sun Jul 14, 2002 12:01 pm

I have read several articles now on Orbitz, the on-line multi-airline ticket sales organization, and cannot figure out just what it is that someone thinks they're doing wrong. If a bunch of airlines want to get together and create special fares only available through that Organization, why on Earth can't they? Even if it's bad for the economy, they still have a right to do it don't they? Just what kind of a law is it that says you can't sell things for cheaper than they normally would be through a promotional enterprise, i.e. Orbitz? It's called a "sale" for heaven's sake! So they all decide to have it at once and through the same medium, what better way to save travelers money? I used Orbitz to find tickets to Seattle this August - round trip $198, leaving at 4pm. I then checked low-fare airline Southwest and round trip was $592!!!
Posts: 3184
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2000 9:55 am

RE: Orbitz - Every Right To Do What They're Doing.

Sun Jul 14, 2002 12:33 pm


fly swa for $89 each way, nonstop

1 night stay (doesn't have to be sat)
7 days advance purchase (instead of 21)
When in doubt, one B pump off
Posts: 3967
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2000 5:03 am

RE: Orbitz - Every Right To Do What They're Doing.

Sun Jul 14, 2002 1:44 pm

It's called collusion. When five of the six Cartel-network airlines, who all have high CASM's, get together to fund a giant web ticket site, that's not about offering consumers cheap fares. It's about offering enough cheap fares in one place to lure people away from lower-CASM, low fare carriers.

Orbitz is an obvious attempt to destroy competition using a market advantage--the extremely deep pockets of the Cartel--to manipulate the market. That just might run afoul of antitrust laws. Congress ought to go over Orbitz with a fine tooth comb. Orbitz' flacks can put out all the crocodile-tears press releases they want.

Yeah, sometimes you'll find a cheaper fare on the Cartel than on Southwest. On some days, WN sells out its cheapest seats before the Cartel decides on Wednesday which seats to dump over the weekend. Big deal. If Southwest didn't exist, airfares in this country would cost billions upon billions more. All those good deals on Orbitz would dry up like rainfall on the DFW prairie.

Fortunately, it doesn't seem to be working, as the finances of the airlines this year make clear. WN is still flying high, and the high-CASM Cartel is still struggling.

Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
Posts: 1613
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2002 3:23 pm

RE: Orbitz - Every Right To Do What They're Doing.

Sun Jul 14, 2002 2:07 pm

Trouble with the cartel is, they don't have deep pockets anymore (except for OURS through good ole Uncle Sam).

They have squandered their money on fights with each other, low CASM carriers, and the unions. Most of these fights were for ego-gratification and not for profit.

Many at the cartel carriers believe that no one can earn real profits in the competitive marketplace, in fact they hate the very idea. Most cartel management gained its experience before deregulation. They think you need a monopoly or near-monopoly in order to do well. So they try to drive their competitors out of markets or even run them out of business, even if it costs millions. They structure their competitive routes not to make money, but to support their monopoly routes. To them, market share was more important than the stockholders, the workers, or the customer. This strategy did buy them some time, but now their is no more time and little money to buy any more. In fact, Southwest and even, to some extent, Airtran and Frontier - are more healthy than their cartel competitors. This turn of events is common in deregulated industries- it takes a LONG time for managers of a protected industry to really learn how to compete profitably in the long term.

That being said, I think Orbitz is only partially a "dirty trick". It is mainly an attempt by the cartel to correct the mistake it made by failing to get on the web early and realize its potential the way Southwest has. This is legitimate, but it wont save them as much in cost as Southwest does when people book on WN's own site. Even some cartel carriers are now undermining Orbitz by offering discounts for tickets on purchased on their websites, by channeling excess inventory through third parties like expedia and priceline, and offering special deals that can only be purchased on airline websites.
Posts: 539
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 1999 4:15 pm

RE: Orbitz - Every Right To Do What They're Doing.

Sun Jul 14, 2002 2:59 pm

Im not trying to put down Orbitz, but several of our AirTran passengers have had problems with Orbitz and the way they make reservations.
Example; one passenger arrived at the counter ready to check in, he had coupons in hand that were issued by Orbitz, he flew to PNS on NW and was returning home on FL, I proceeded to attempt to check him in, his name was not anywhere to be found in our database, I could not check him, it took several hours to get the issue resolved.
Example two:
A family of five arrive at the ticket counter ready to check in and return home after a couple weeks of fun in sun on the Gulf Coast, they had all five coupons in hand...however there was one problem....they were not manifested for the particulair flight they were checking in for, Orbitz had placed them on the 6:30am flight and didnt tell them, we ultimately put them on the next flight because the one they were checking in for was over sold, but it was a fair inconvenience for the passengers, and an unwelcome way to end a vacation.....all in all, personally, I would seek other ways to make a reservation with an airline....perhaps these were isolated orccurances and Orbits does provide fair service.
Posts: 1210
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2001 10:58 am

RE: Orbitz - Every Right To Do What They're Doing.

Mon Jul 15, 2002 2:55 pm

Doesn't AirTran have (or at least had) issues with travel agent tickets in general not showing up in their CRS? What do you guys use these days?

Posts: 539
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 1999 4:15 pm

RE: Orbitz - Every Right To Do What They're Doing.

Mon Jul 15, 2002 3:34 pm

Well, essentially the passenger in a nutshell gets screwed because they payed the travel agent for a reservation and then the travel agent turns around and doesnt put the reservation in the system, happens quite often, when this does happend, there is little we as AirTran can do, in addition there is cause for legal action in this case because the travel agent didnt complete the contract, you paid him or her to book your travel arrangements, they take your money and said..see ya....your left strandid in an airport....personally, I would call the airline or make resrervations directly, it may cost slightly more, but to me I would rather rest at night knowing my reservations are set.
Thats just the way I would do it anyway...
Posts: 530
Joined: Tue May 15, 2001 3:51 am

RE: Orbitz - Every Right To Do What They're Doing.

Mon Jul 15, 2002 4:01 pm

Orbitz is great for the following reasons,

1. The fares are usually cheaper than most airlines, especially in markets where SW does not serve.
2. You get a booking on a large air carrier with your choice of connections.
3. When booking you can add frequent flyer miles through the major carriers.
4. Orbitz is very careful in making sure you recieve all of the information on your flight, including delays. Orbitz sent me a Email on my phone on a trip through O'hare to tell me of a gate change, it saved me a long walk on a tight connection.
5.You get free gifts from Orbitz, I got a Zagat resort guide free of charge just for booking!

P.S. It is a good Idea regardless of how you buy your ticket, to check with the airline 24 hours before your flight to confirm your reservation Big grin

Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: Orbitz - Every Right To Do What They're Doing.

Mon Jul 15, 2002 8:11 pm

Doesn't Orbitz charge a $5 service fee on top of the fare? I believe I read that in Business Week, along with the bit about how Orbitz has still failed to turn a profit.
Posts: 86
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2001 9:37 pm

RE: Orbitz - Every Right To Do What They're Doing.

Mon Jul 15, 2002 9:24 pm

Yes Orbitz does have a 5$ service charge. I just did IAD to Tucson roundtrip booked on Orbitz for $198 on American...for that fare I can handle the five bucks.


RE: Orbitz - Every Right To Do What They're Doing.

Mon Jul 15, 2002 9:54 pm

Didn't I hear that Orbitz has lost something in the realm of $125 million so far?

747-600X: Orbitz is being anticompetitive. They offer Orbitz-only fares from their owners, which in my mind is just trying to shut the other travel sites down. It would be the same as having Sony take a 20% stake in Toys R Us and then announcing that PS3 will initially be available for $399 in most stores but $349 at Toys R Us, and all games will be $10 cheaper. Walmart/Target, etc. would have a fit about that, and so would the DOJ.
Posts: 308
Joined: Wed May 24, 2006 11:32 pm

RE: Orbitz - Every Right To Do What They're Doing.

Mon Jul 15, 2002 10:01 pm

Shame Orbitz is no use for international flights as yet.
Posts: 3184
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2000 9:55 am

RE: Orbitz - Every Right To Do What They're Doing.

Mon Jul 15, 2002 10:25 pm

on te below trips Orbitz always showed a higher price then travelocity-

PDX-SFO (also tried OAk and SJC) (AS was even lower than travelocity)
IND-SFO (also tried OAk and SJC)

the only time I have EVER gotten a lower fare was when looking at prices from PDX-. LON, and while it showed a flight, I was unable to book the return, as the flights it showed were no longer availble a that price.
When in doubt, one B pump off

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos