United Airlines and Expedia announced Monday they reached an agreement to continue selling fares on the massive online travel agency, just weeks before the airline was set to pull tickets.
Airlines pay online travel agencies (OTAs) like Expedia to sell fares, helping fill planes and sometimes giving flyers a better deal. But the rate that airlines pay these re-sellers is a sticking point.
United and Expedia spent months posturing, as United pledged to pull fares after Sept. 30 and Expedia sued them for planning to do so. It was headed for an ugly divorce and the disappearance of United fares from Expedia until Monday, when the two companies announced a new deal.
“This new agreement ushers in an expanded relationship, meeting the strategic objectives of both companies and benefiting travelers around the world,” the companies said in a joint statement, according to Skift.
It’s a swift reversal. Earlier this summer, United executives said they were more than ready to pull their fares from Expedia.
“We have had a number of conversations with Expedia in the past month or so, and we’ve yet to be able to conclude a way to get around some of these issues. At this point, we don’t have a deal,” United’s chief commercial officer Andrew Nocella said in July. “So we are preparing to move on as we previously said. We’ll see where we go.”
As is often the case, United and Expedia were trying to bluff their way to a better deal. Luckily, travelers won’t pay the price for their negotiating tactics.
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