Hotwire Gets Hotter

Discount travel service Hotwire, in a move that makes the service
more competitive with Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity, today added 19
international air carriers and rental cars via Budget and Hertz to its
partner list.

San Francisco-based Hotwire, backed by several major airlines, just last
month began offering discount hotel rooms. It began selling discount air
tickets last October.

New airline partners include Aer Lingus, Air New Zealand, All Nippon
Airways, Alitalia, Cathay Pacific Airways, Copa Airlines, Finnair, Grupo
TACA, Iberia, Icelandair, Lufthansa Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines,
Mexicana Airlines, Sabena, Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS), Singapore
Airlines, Swissair, VARIG Brazilian Airlines and Virgin Atlantic Airways.

Hotwire’s domestic airline partners — American, America West, Continental,
Hawaiian, Northwest, TWA, United and USAirways — will also make their full
international routes available to users, the company said.

Budget and Hertz will provide specially negotiated rental car deals, Hotwire
said, adding that its customers can now rent from 200 airport locations
around the United States.

Privately held Hotwire is backed by $75 million in venture capital from Texas
Pacific Group and investments by founding airline partners American, America
West, Continental, Northwest, United and U.S. Airways.

In just 100 days after it launched, Hotwire says it has sold more than
100,000 tickets and registered one million users to the site.

“We launched Hotwire just a few months ago with top-notch airlines and
specially negotiated deals on domestic airfare,” said Karl Peterson,
Hotwire’s president and CEO. “Now, the biggest names in hotels, rental cars
and international airlines have joined to take advantage of the tremendous
demand. This is a great vote of confidence for our business model, especially
in light of current market conditions and the early stage in our company’s

Hotwire, which has been conducting an aggressive marketing campaign, says its
airline, hotel and rental car companies provide a pool of specially
negotiated prices not available anywhere else. Its airline tickets are
non-changeable and non-refundable.

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