Travelers can no longer book flights on American Airlines and Delta through several popular travel websites, and the V.I. Tourism Department is using a portion of its website to keep travelers informed of easy ways to book trips to the territory.
American Airlines has pulled its flights from Orbitz.com and Expedia.com. Delta Air Lines has pulled flights from CheapOAir.com, OneTravel.com, and BookIt.com.
In a news release, American Airlines said it removed its schedules and airfares for American Airlines and American Eagle flights from Orbitz.com on Dec. 21 because the airline and the website could not come to a commercial agreement.
Two days later, the airline pulled out of Expedia.com. According to American Airlines, it dropped the online booking site on Dec. 23 when Expedia.com began discriminating against American’s flights and schedules by listing them lower in the search display compared to other airlines.
Tickets already purchased through the websites will remain valid, but changes must be made through American Airlines reservations by calling 1-800-433-7300.
Calls to Delta Air Lines were not returned by press time this morning, but various news outlets have reported in recent weeks that Delta’s decision to drop CheapOAir.com, OneTravel.com, and BookIt.com was made so Delta could focus marketing efforts toward driving travel bookings through its own website.
The V.I. Tourism Department said Thursday it is working to help travelers book flights through other avenues to ensure that the territory does not lose visitors.
A special section of Tourism’s website – www.visitusvi.com
– informs potential travelers of the many other options for booking flights and travel packages to the Virgin Islands. The website provides an updated list of tour operators and online travel sites featuring American Airlines and Delta Air Lines.
In addition, Tourism has contacted key members of the travel industry trade and consumer media and will distribute updates via its Twitter and Facebook pages as well.
"We recognize that American Airlines’ and Delta’s decisions to withdraw flight listings from these popular online travel sites, which represent a significant source of packages sold to the territory on these airlines, have the potential to create a serious impact on travel," Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty said in a written statement. "We are reaching out to travelers via travel trade and leisure travel media outlets as well as social media platforms to remind them of the online and offline tour operators who continue to offer USVI trips featuring American Airlines and/or Delta Air Lines service. Our goal is to ensure a balance of supporting all available channels for travelers to book packaged travel to the territory."