When Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz temporarily waived their airline booking fees a few months back, the big question was whether or not the online travel agencies (OTAs) would, or could even justify, reinstating the fees when their promotions expired. Well, those promotions ended yesterday, and from the looks of things, we have our answer.
Expedia said it will continue offering fee-free bookings on all flights except those booked by phone, which will incur a $20 fee. Travelocity and Orbitz have also made their moves permanent, with some limitations. Going forward, neither OTA will charge a booking fee for single-carrier flights originating within the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Caribbean.
Expedia also made a separate customer-friendly move last week, waiving its change and cancellation fees for hotel, car rental, cruise, and nearly all airfare reservations. These are typically substantial fees (in the $30 neighborhood) and will make the hassle of changing your plans a little easier to stomach. I'll keep an eye on the other OTAs to see if they match.
(Editor's Note: SmarterTravel is a member of the TripAdvisor Media Network, an operating company of Expedia, Inc. Expedia, Inc. also owns Expedia.com.)