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Thu, Mar 06, 2008

Delta Touts Its Online Fares Are Lowest Of All

And Offers "Guarantee" To Back It Up

A few years ago, the airline industry decided to stop paying commissions to traditional travel agents. Now, the airlines are not only squeezing out internet travel sites from airline ticket sales, but actually competing with them in other areas... in the hopes of keeping precious passenger dollars in-house.

If you've ever tried to compare airline ticket prices on the web, you may have noticed that some airlines, Southwest being one example, don't participate. Southwest knows that if you're really doing your homework on prices, you'll check southwest.com in addition to Expedia or Travelocity. It's a gamble that makes sense if you've created a strong discount brand, which Southwest has certainly done.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Delta Airlines isn't quite ready to pull its product off the travel sites... but it is moving to drive more traffic to its own website, by guaranteeing that you'll find the airline's lowest fares there.

The guarantee works like this -- within certain conditions, if you buy a ticket at delta.com, then find the same Delta itinerary on another travel site for a price 10 dollars or more below what you paid Delta by midnight the same day, the airline will pay you the difference, plus a $100 dollar travel voucher. If it happens after midnight but within 24 hours, you can get a refund.

There's more at stake for Delta than just the few dollars in ticket booking fees to outside agencies. If you've been to Delta's website recently, you'll notice the airline, as do many others, has actually gone into competition with the general travel sites, packaging Hilton hotel rooms, Avis or Budget rental cars, and partner products with your ticket purchase.

FMI: www.delta.com

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