RealTime IT News

Priceline, Expedia Battle Over Ticket Pricing

Expedia's decision to step into bargain ticket pricing has led to open warfare with Priceline in a battle for a corner of the travel market.

The tug-of-war for online travel customers may get a few more participants in the match, according to a New York Times report. Priceline (PCLN) is teaming with soon-to-merge Travelocity and Preview Travel (PTVL) to fend off Expedia's invasion into the market share.

According to the report, Expedia said that it added the name-your-price feature when it realized customers were looking up fares on Expedia in order to name a lower price on Priceline. An Expedia spokesman told the Times that the service will include a feature allowing users to pick the listed fare instead if it is lower than the name-your-price bid.

Priceline.com Inc. filed a suit against Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) in October, claiming Expedia's hotel booking service infringes on its patent. Legal experts have said that this claim stands on shaky ground because it is based on a business model patent.

Nevertheless, Priceline may add the airfare price invasion to its hotel dispute, according to the report.

The company is expected to extend its unique pricing system to long distance phone services in early 2000.