Airlines agree to more discounts for Hotwire

A majority of the U.S. airline owners of Hotwire agreed to give even deeper discounts to the distressed-inventory Web site, that enabled Hotwire to launch its fare sale.


A Hotwire spokeswoman said the airlines reached the agreements with Hotwire separately for the domestic fare sale, which comes off prices already discounted by as much as 50%. She said a “majority” of the airlines are participating, but would not specify the airlines or the exact number.


Hotwire is owned by Texas Pacific Group and six of the eight largest U.S. carriers: American, United, Northwest, Continental, US Airways and America West.


In that vein it is similar to Orbitz
, which is owned by the five largest U.S. airlines. Last fall Orbitz and Hotwire signed a marketing deal in which they offer direct links to each other`s sites and tout each other as a consumer option.


Hotwire
offers deep discounts on seats that otherwise would fly empty, but doesn`t name the airline or give the flight times until the consumer completes the nonrefundable, unchangeable purchase. The “Spring Sale” applies to tickets bought through May 2 for trips completed by May 22.

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The Hotwire spokeswoman said the airlines that agreed to participate in the sale were approached individually.


“We went to all of them with the idea to have a sale to help stimulate demand for April and May travel, and they agreed to participate,” she said.


Those airlines did not have to sign a deal on offering Hotwire the sale prices, she said, because they already are Hotwire partners. She also said the airlines are not precluded from offering the deals elsewhere, but for now are offering them to Hotwire exclusively.


The spokeswoman dismissed suggestions that some people could find that troubling.


“We`re a site where the airlines compete against each other for the lowest price that will be found on our site,” she said. “We foster competition, so there`s no way anyone can complain about it.”


“The airlines are invested in us, but we`re an independent company,” she added.


Related stories on ITN:

(11/03/2002) Hotels Offer Discounted Rates through Hotwire

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