JetBlue to End Ticket Sales on 12 Travel Booking Websites
JetBlue will no longer sell its tickets through 12 online travel agencies (OTAs) as part of the first phase of a new restructuring program.
Instead, JetBlue will try to push travelers to book directly through its website. According to the airline, direct customer booking “allows the airline to cut costs and keep ticket prices low.”
OTAs include SmartFares.com, MyFlightSearch.com, WhatsCheaper.com, and other lesser-known sites. Big names like Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity will still be allowed to sell JetBlue tickets.
According to JetBlue’s executive vice president for commerce and planning, Marty St. George, the “overwhelming majority” of the airline’s ticket sales already come from its own website. JetBlue also guarantees that the lowest fare will always be available on its website or through a GDS rather than a third-party OTA.
While JetBlue promotes other perks of using its website – access to promotions, easy seat upgrades, more manageable route changes – recent studies suggest otherwise.
A government report from the General Accounting Office (GAO) last year found that airline websites lack transparency and ease of use. charges for optional services.
In the case of preferred seats, fee information “is not always visible to customers on airline websites, unless the customer selects or begins to book a specific flight,” GAO said. .
The websites are also not rated higher by consumers. In a survey of 1,000 travelers released earlier this year by UserTesting, most airline websites, including JetBlue, scored low because of the difficulties consumers have in obtaining information.