Not so long ago customers had little power over the high price of airline ticket purchases. In order to buy tickets one would have to go to a travel agent and let them find a ticket This adds the middleman cost of the agent plus the savings lost by not being able to comparison shop. The Internet has changed the entire process for many people by offering tickets online, directly from the airlines or through services like Expedia.com. Today comparison-shopping is very easy; Expedia gives price quotes from a number of different airlines, practically every airline has their own online ticket quotes, and Priceline.com even allows the customer to bid a price they are willing to pay and let the airlines decide to accept or reject their offer.
Most airlines offer tickets online through their own websites. Continental airlines redesigned their website, Continental.com, in 2002 and have since seen record breaking ticket sales. In May 2003, Continental.com sold $4.3 million dollars of tickets online in one day, shattering all previous one-day records. Continental, like many other airlines, has succeeded in persuading customers to purchase tickets online through the use of special offers, discounts, and most importantly offering an easier and quicker way to purchase tickets than traditional methods.
Expedia.com offers price comparisons and ticket bookings for airline tickets, hotel reservations, cruises, vacation packages and rental cars. Expedia is the self-proclaimed leading travel site on the Internet, and is the 8th largest travel agency in the country. Founded in 1996 as an online travel service, Expedia has grown to be the highest gross booking online travel agency. Business is increasing at a furious pace as more people choose to use this service rather than spend lofty travel agent fees; Expedia saw a 109% increase in airline ticket booking from 2001 to 2002.
travel agencies are still around, but the business have been waning since
the introduction of these various methods of purchasing airline tickets
online. Now, consumers are empowered by these online services. They are
able to compare prices between different airlines as well as different
itineraries, all without a middleman to pay.
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