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Comparisons Between Airline and On-Line Travel Agency Internet Web Sites

A reporter for The Wall Street Journal is researching an article about the Internet web sites of airlines and how they compare with each other, as well as how they compare with on-line travel agencies such as Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity when it comes to booking tickets and other products and services.

This reporter, whose identity will remain anonymous by me for now, reportedly has a tight deadline to submit this article tomorrow, which is Thursday, January 20, 2011. Please post your thoughts as soon as possible.

Also, please do not hesitate to continue to contribute to and read the thread for those FlyerTalk members who are seeking insights into comparing the Internet web sites of airlines and on-line travel agencies with each other, citing as many advantages and benefits as possible versus the disadvantages of each…

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Flexible Searches Will No Longer Be Available for American Airlines Flights at www.aa.com

FlyerTalk members who are also American Airlines AAdvantage members are expressing their dismay regarding www.aa.com Date Flexible Searches suspended indefinitely, and they are reporting that correspondence with American Airlines confirms that this is indeed true.

The disappearance of this feature reduces the ability to purchase American Airlines airfares at less cost.

FlyerTalk member SANman is even attempting to organize a campaign, challenging fellow AAdvantage members to contact American Airlines regarding the removal of the ‘Dates Flexible’ feature from the American Airlines Internet web site.

For now, the ‘Dates Flexible’ feature is still available, and how to access this feature is posted in the aa.com Date Flexible Searches suspended indefinitely thread. Now is the time to see what you may soon be missing, and do it while you are still able to do so…

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Like a Vacuum Cleaner or a Child with a Lollipop…

…apparently, with regard to airlines:

…and, just in case there was any doubt about United Airlines…

One FlyerTalk member asks:

…to which the response is, apparently definitively…

Sometimes, once is not enough, as in the case with the Continental Airlines OnePass frequent flier loyalty program:

The Internet web sites of airlines are apparently not immune either:

Once can suppose the grass is really greener on the other side…
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Flying on Jetstar this weekend? Urgent news.

Jetstar (subsidiary of Qantas) are doing a major overhaul of some computer systems this weekend.  There are internet and phone outages for 2 1/2 days.  To find out more how it may impact your travel or bookings on Jetstar, read the discussion here.

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Reduced award availability on partner airlines

In the United Airlines Mileage Plus forum there is frequent discussion on the reduced availability for awards flying on partner airlines, relative to using some other Star Alliance frequent flyer miles.  A sample of recent threads includes Air New Zealand (UA filtering NZ), Asian airlines (UA filtering NH, OZ, SQ and TG), Lufthansa (UA being stingy with LH), general (UA gets tough on manual sell for award seats), and I hate the ANA tool.  A simple search on “Starnet” brings up many more threads.

For those unfamiliar with the ANA tool, anyone can sign up to the ANA program and search for awards on all Star Alliance airlines (except Swiss) online.

This is not something as simple as a blackout for a short period, or the oft-discussed situation whereby Qantas releases awards 355 days before departure but AAdvantage can only access them 330 days prior (thus many prime awards have already gone).

Do other frequent flyer programs have a similar issue of reduced availability on partner airlines? 

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Airline's IT is too clever

Yes I know, clever airline IT is an oxymoron.  And to prove the point, it seems bmi has it’s website restrict which country-specific version(s) you can access based on your IP address.

It may have seemed a good idea to some at bmi – stop clever UK-based people from booking sales ex-Europe or ex-USA.  But it doesn’t seem to be well thought through.  Perhaps they haven’t heard of multi-nationals having non-local IP addresses?

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