Airline: Sales up despite spat with travel sites

FORT WORTH — American Airlines said Wednesday that it has no plans to sell tickets only through its own website, as its dispute with Orbitz and Expedia entered a second week.

American stopped selling tickets on Orbitz on Dec. 21 in a dispute over how Orbitz gets information about American flights. Two days later, Expedia began listing American Airlines fares in a way that made them harder to see.

American wants travel websites to get flight information directly from the airline instead of through other companies that the airline claims are middlemen driving up costs. The websites as well as some travel advocates have said American's move will hurt customers' choices for buying tickets.

American said December ticket volumes before the dispute began were rising compared with the same time last year. It said the increase has continued since then. The improving economy has boosted ticket sales at most airlines.

American said more customers are buying through other travel websites as well as its own website.

American spokesman Ryan Mikolasik said there have been no talks with Orbitz or Expedia since the dispute began last week. He declined to say how large the increase in sales has been.

American is a unit of Fort Worth-based AMR Corp. Shares rose 6 cents to close at $7.78. Orbitz Worldwide shares fell 15 cents, or 2.6 percent, to close at $5.53. Expedia Inc. shares were up a dime to close at $25.58.