Northwest, Expedia Settle Online Fare Feud

Online agency, carrier come to terms on new distribution agreement, but neither reveals its contents

Northwest Airlines inventory reappeared on Expedia after a three-week feud between the two companies. The carrier and the online agency came to terms on a new distribution agreement, although neither would divulge its contents.

Northwest had complained that Expedia refused to display some of the carrier’s lower fares because the action would conflict with agreements between the Web site and Northwest’s competitors (News, Oct. 14).

The Minneapolis-based airline pulled its tickets from Expedia’s Web sites early this month after talks about extending Northwest’s contract to supply tickets failed.

Expedia spokeswoman Andrea Riggs said Expedia shows no favoritism to the airlines that supply its Web sites’ tickets.

“Our fares are always sorted by lowest fare first, so an airline cannot pay to receive preferential treatment,” Riggs said.

She would not comment on how the dispute with Northwest was resolved, but she said negotiations between the companies had been going on since Oct. 1.

“We have a long-standing partnership with Northwest and are pleased to have reached mutually agreeable terms,” Expedia North America President Erik Blachford said in a written statement.

Expedia, which is majority-owned by USA Interactive, would not disclose the financial details of its agreement with the airline but said the deal’s terms were not material to the results of either company.

Riggs would not say what percentage of Expedia’s ticket sales involve Northwest fares or whether Northwest’s decision to pull its tickets from hurt Expedia’s sales.

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