Expedia, Northwest Mend Fences

Patching up a mini-feud, online travel operation Expedia.com and Northwest Airlines said they have reached an agreement that once again lets consumers buy Northwest tickets via the Expedia site.

Northwest , a founding partner of the airline-backed Orbitz online ticket sales operation and the fourth-largest U.S. airline, had complained that Expedia was refusing to display some of Northwest’s low fares because they conflicted with agreements that Expedia had with other airlines.

Northwest removed its flights from Expedia’s search engine on Oct. 1 when contract-extension talks between the companies broke down.

But apparently both sides wanted the tiff settled, especially since Northwest has a deal with Expedia rival Travelocity.com that it signed last spring.

“We have a long-standing partnership with Northwest and are pleased to have reached mutually agreeable terms,” said Erik Blachford, president of Expedia North America, in a kiss-kiss statement to the media.

However, nobody was talking about the specifics of how the spat was patched up, and Expedia said in a press release that “details of the agreement are confidential.” Both companies did agree that the deal is not material to financial results for either.

At one point Northwest had gone to the trouble of including a line in its advertising saying that its fares were not available on Expedia.

The battered airline (its stock is trading in the $6 range with a 52-week high of $21.92) earlier this month trimmed its flight attendant roster by 1,600 people to meet slow travel demand. And on Oct. 15 it closed its Atlanta aircraft maintenance and engine facility and its Long Beach, Calif., reservations center, eliminating 100 management positions.

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