United Airlines Could Block Expedia From Selling Future Flights

United Airlines has threatened to block Expedia from selling tickets to United flights.

This is the latest United rebuttal in the long-standing feud between the two organizations, as their contracted agreement ends.

What are the details?

Essentially, whilst both Expedia and United have not publically admitted why they are at odds with each other, it’s rumored that United is not happy with the financial terms of their contracted agreement.

This agreement in question allows Expedia to sell United tickets to customers on their website and expires at the end of September 2019. United has informed Expedia that they will not be renewing the contract and that flights beyond this date should not be for sale on the Expedia website. That any business with the website should be ‘wound down’ and customers directed elsewhere.

Expedia, on the other hand, has said that they have every right to sell tickets up to and beyond 2020. United believes that this is an attempt to lock in enough customers that United will be forced to continue the ‘bad’ contract.

“Recognizing that United now intends to walk away from Expedia upon the Sept. 30, 2019 expiration of their contractual relationship, Expedia has resorted to litigation to maximize the number of Expedia customers holding United tickets for flights after the expiration of the parties’ contract” – United Statement

If United needs to change or cancel flights, this might do harm to customers who have bought through Expedia. According to the current contract, Expedia would not be able to refund the money or make other arrangements for United flights as it would be outside their contract at that time. Customers would then become frustrated and take their anger out on the airline.

Transgender Flights
United Airlines 737. Photo: Tom Boon/Simple Flying

“The reason is simple: Expedia hopes that the frustration, disruption, and expense that would otherwise result to these customers will force United to continue working with it after the contract expires”

United has said that they are willing to renegotiate more favorable terms, but that Expedia has since refused to come to the table.

“Expedia refused to negotiate, even as Expedia customers began in greater numbers to book flights set to depart after their contract expired—and even though Expedia, with ample opportunity to protect its customers, now claims it will be irreparably harmed by not being able to service these same customers.” – United Statement

Expedia has said that they have tried to negotiate a new contract with United.

United Aircraft
United’s first Boeing 787-10 entered regular service earlier this month. Photo: United Airlines.

What is United threatening to do?

United has said that they might cease accepting booking from Expedia as soon as the end of this month. Expedia has claimed that such an action would cause irreparable harm to themselves and their customers.

While United may ultimately choose to enter into a new commercial agreement with Expedia when the term of the current agreement ends, it has no right to breach the existing agreement and to unilaterally inflict harm on Expedia and its customers as a negotiating tactic. – Expedia statement

Both United and Expedia have taken the matter to litigation.

What do you think? Should United cut off Expedia?