One of the shortcomings of online travel agencies has been their lack of ability to sell “upgrade” products from airlines such as better coach seats for a fee that include travel enhancements like pre-boarding and more legroom. Expedia announced a new marketplace concept yesterday that summarizes available fare options, baggage, change, and upgrade fees to give travelers a clearer picture of what they are buying.
Delta announced today that the airline is a partner in this effort, according to the airline, the “partnership builds on Delta’s customer-driven approach, offering a full description of the flight experience passengers are buying. Expedia’s new display lists fees for checking bags or canceling a reservation, as well as the perks of a particular fare. Delta provided all of the product, fare and cost information.”
American recently announced its own partnership with Expedia, and I would expect to see more of this in the future. As I have said before, in an era of unbundling, I like having access to more information on pricing and the ability to buy up to better seats if I choose to, no matter where I am buying my tickets – airline direct or online travel agency. Granted, this is an opportunity for airlines to sell us more things we might have once received for “free” like bag fees. However, having the opportunity to increase your comfort level by easily purchasing an extra legroom seat or even an upgrade to first class, no matter where you buy your ticket, is not a bad thing.