Obviously Expedia, which is in the same market as Orbitz, isn't too happy about that kind of strong-arm tactic. These online travel sites stay in business because shoppers know they can compare rates from across the airline industry, and there's a very real fear that this kind of tactic could ruin the likes or Orbitz and Expedia. Imagine if all airlines followed American's lead, and took their fares away from search engines. Disaster. And airlines definitely have a history of copying each other; just look at bag fees.
So now, Expedia is making it very difficult to find the fares of American Airlines. For starters, they aren't even listed on the initial search result page (see below).
And even when you click to See more Airlines, you have to click yet again to get the engine to search for AA's prices (see below).
Here's a direct quote from Expedia: "This has been done in light of both American Airlines' recent decision to prevent Orbitz from selling its inventory and a possible disruption in Expedia's ability to sell American Airlines tickets when our contract with American Airlines expires." Definitely fighting words, and this war definitely isn't close to over. This is just one of the many digital wars that are bound to take place as the Internet becomes more and more powerful.
Updated with a comment from Expedia:
"We have been unable to reach an agreement with American Airlines due to American Airlines’ new commercial strategy that we believe is anti-consumer and anti-choice. American Airlines is attempting to introduce a new direct connect model that will result in higher costs and reduced transparency for consumers, making it difficult to compare American Airlines' ticket prices and options with offerings by other airlines. American Airlines’ direct connect model is of questionable, if any, benefit to travelers, would be costly to build and maintain and would compromise travel agents’ ability to provide travelers with the best selection.
As a result, the sale of American Airlines flights on our website has been suspended. We remain open to doing business with American Airlines on terms that are satisfactory to Expedia and do not compromise our ability to provide consumers with the products and services they need.
We cannot support efforts that we believe are fundamentally bad for travelers. With or without American Airlines’ inventory, we have a robust supply base and broad array of choices for our customers and we continue to offer hundreds of flight options for the routes served by American Airlines."