I once enthused about my favorite travel sites, and among these was Kayak.com, the AJAX-y Web 2.0 travel search engine that I use to find flights. The thing I love about Kayak is that I can literally slide the dials to look for just the right departure time, connections, and even planes to make sure things work out.
But American Airlines recently decided that it didn’t like paying Kayak for referrals, and has apparently pulled its listings, even through third parties like Orbitz. Now, Southwest never included listings on Kayak, but that was no great loss to me. But I’m an American elite (Gold) and they were my strong number two airline choice. I was even thinking of shifting more business their way! But thanks to their spat over a few dollars of commission, they’re unlikely to get much more business from me.
The ironic thing is, I never used Kayak for bookings anyway! I always shifted over to my page at aa.com to buy the tickets, since it ensured that I got the right flight, codes, and instructions. So they never lost a dollar of my business to Kayak.
Air travel really is getting rapidly worse. The other day I was forced to fly cross country on US Airways, and it was just depressing. The flight attendants had to pitch credit card applications over the PA and in the aisles, they charged $2 for a bottle of water or cup of coffee, and there were ads on the tray tables. Oh, and US Airways doesn’t do planeside check – they require you to check your bags through (and pay a hefty charge) if they don’t fit.
Something has to change here. The airlines are almost bankrupt, yet there is a huge volume of travelers who must get from place to place. Service is dropping, passengers are unhappy, and no one is doing anything about it. Virgin America and JetBlue seem to be eating everyone’s lunch right now, but it won’t be long before they’re in trouble, too. And I can’t fly them anyway, since neither comes to Ohio. Something’s gotta give…