Are United flights about to disappear from Expedia's website? The booking platform is claiming that United Airlines has threatened to remove access as part of a bold renegotiation tactic. The change would become effective on Feb. 11 and impact all flights that are due to depart after Oct. 1 of this year. However, Expedia is going to court to try to make sure that doesn't happen. Expedia filed a complaint against United Airlines in a New York City court earlier this week.
Expedia will be in quite a pickle if United does remove access to flights for Expedia customers after September of this year. Expedia claims that customers have already booked more than 2,000 seats for dates after United's deadline on Sept. 30. Any action done on the part of United to remove flights from Expedia's website could prevent Expedia from serving customers in the event of flight changes and cancellations. United isn't saying much in response to the controversy. The airline has acknowledged that there is a chance United flights will no longer be offered on Expedia.com in the future. However, representatives speaking on behalf of United have declined opportunities to elaborate on the cause of the current contract dispute.
The ticketing agreement that is in place between Expedia and United became effective seven years ago. It was reaffirmed in both 2013 and 2016. This isn't the first time that a conflict has been experienced between a booking website and an airline. InterContinental Hotels Group actually removed its hotels from Expedia's website for a period lasting several years. However, the company resumed doing business with Expedia in 2007. American Airlines pulled flights from Orbitz during a period lasting from December of 2010 to June of 2011 before reaching an agreement. It is estimated that Orbitz lost close to 5 percent of its business during the dark period. Expedia stands to lose quite a bit of business if negotiations with United fall through and the airline pulls its fares from Expedia.com. The only thing that faithful Expedia users can do at the moment is sit and wait to see how things play out.