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Orbitz Waives Fees, Matching Expedia and Travelocity

Orbitz has joined in the no-fee fray with a deal of its own. Through May 31, Orbitz (and customers will pay no booking fees on all domestic and international flights with the exception of flights originating outside the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Caribbean. Multi-carrier itineraries are not included.

My first response? What took Orbitz so long? Expedia and Travelocity launched their respective deals several weeks ago, and it seems odd that Orbitz didn’t respond sooner. Don’t forget Priceline, too, which doesn’t charge fees but added a price-protection option (as did Travelocity) that directly challenges Orbitz’ Price Assurance program.

So why did Orbitz wait so long? All I can do is speculate, but for starters, waiving these fees cuts off a major revenue stream. Obviously that’s not appealing to a company in a struggling industry, so perhaps Orbitz was hesitant to do so. Plus, there are hopeful signs for a summer rebound, which may have caused Orbitz to consider waiting or holding off entirely. (This is also why, presumably, all the deals end May 31).

Anyway, the bottom line is that all the major online travel agents (OTAs) that charge fees have waived them through May 31. Happy booking!

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