Expedia has made a significant change to its service policy, eliminating all phone-based booking fees and the company will not charge phone booking fees for any flight, car rental, hotel or cruise reservation booked by phone in the US.
It’s the latest move in a fee war that has been playing out over the past several months among online travel agencies. Expedia eliminated online air booking fees and change fees and cancel fees on all hotel and car rental reservations in May 2009.
Cruise change and cancel fees were also eliminated in May 2009 and cruise booking fees were eliminated in October 2009. Orbitz and Travelocity quickly followed suit, eliminating flight booking fees in June and later scrapping change and cancel penalties on hotel reservations.
“Expedia.com is proud to stand up for the rights of phone-using Americans,” said Tim MacDonald, senior vice president and general manager, Expedia.com. “In recent years, travel fees—for baggage, gas, parking and the like—
have had a tendency to rise in unexpected and unpleasant ways. Expedia.com has chosen to move in a different direction. We expect that this decision will be well received by the millions of travelers we serve.”
Expedia won’t reveal what percentage of its bookings are made by phone, but Forrester Research estimates it at about 10 percent. The question is will Orbitz or Travelocity eliminate their $25 charges for booking flights by phone?