Home What's Brewing? Seattle’s New Year’s Resolutions “Signed” Online, and Expedia tells AA to Fly...

Seattle’s New Year’s Resolutions “Signed” Online, and Expedia tells AA to Fly Solo

Would you go public with your resolutions for the 2011 new year?

If you had met up with Ben Friedman and Dax Borges on a Seattle street corner last week, you would have been asked to do just that.

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You might have had your photo taken after writing down your resolution on a piece of poster board. And you would have been part of a social initiative that has gone viral in a couple of cities already.

The ad hoc contributions, compiled at newyearseattle.org and on Facebook , showcase resolutions from a cross-section of Seattle citizenry.  “The people that you would normally walk right by, you’re now having a conversation with about what your deepest convictions are for the next year,” said Friedman.  It was a great opportunity to get to know the community, he said. [24×7]

American Airlines Flying Solo Without Net Partners

Bellevue-based Expedia said it has suspended the sale of American Airlines tickets from its website, calling American’s new direct online marketing strategy “anti-consumer and anti-choice”.

“As a result, the sale of American Airlines flights on our website has been suspended,” Expedia said in a statement, adding however that it remained “open to doing business with American Airlines on terms that are satisfactory to Expedia”.

“American Airlines is attempting to introduce a new direct connect model that will result in higher costs and reduced transparency for consumers, making it difficult to compare American Airlines ticket prices and options with offerings by other airlines,” it added.

The airlines’ AA Direct Connect model “would compromise travel agents’ ability to provide travelers with the best selection,” said Expedia, adding the new commercial strategy “we believe is anti-consumer and anti-choice”.

Expedia’s announcement followed AA’s move on Wednesday severing its decade-long ties to online travel giant Orbitz in a dispute over the same policy.

American Airlines recently indicated it wants to take greater control of how it sells tickets and other goods and services to online travel agencies.

American hopes to convince future online ticketing clearinghouses to use an electronic pipeline of its own creation, called AA Direct Connect.

Despite its row with Expedia and Orbitz, the airline last week said ticket sales have gone up since December 21, with the loss of the two online travel giants compensated for by other sites, including Priceline and Kayak and its own AA.com website.

“We do not envision a future in which we only sell to our customers through our own branded website,” AA sales director Derek DeCross said in a press release on Wednesday.

“Our goal is to have broad distribution channels and choices for our customers, with our products and services delivered efficiently and without unnecessary costs flowing through the process,” he added.  Consumer advocates have warned that if other airline carriers follow suit in sidestepping online travel websites, passengers could lose a powerful money-saving tool. [24×7]