In an effort to cut out the middleman, some airlines are pulling their fare prices from third-party fare comparison websites. That means if you go on a site like TripAdvisor and want to see flight costs for a specific airline, in this case Delta, you won’t be able to see it unless you visit the airline’s website as well. Alternatively, some airlines are effectively punishing those who don’t use their site; Lufthansa recently announced in September it would begin charging an additional $18 to those who booked tickets on a third-party website.
From the companies’ perspectives, the logic is simple: eliminate third-party fees and upsell customers with ancillary features and add-ons like “extra legroom.” However, from the perspective of a customer attempting to book their own flight, this just seems like another obvious way for companies to sway odds in their favor. In a recent New York Times article, Bryan Saltzburg, general manager of TripAdvisor Flights, said that, when booking becomes too challenging, customers often simply default to their preferred airline’s website.
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Thus, by eliminating the ease of comparing fares on third-party sites, airlines force travelers to, once again, use multiple Internet tabs and apps to navigate the booking process. It is the addition of this extra confusion to an already notoriously aggravating process that ultimately forces frustrated travelers to do exactly what the airline wanted in the first place; use their website.