Delta Air Lines has banned several travel websites from posting its airfares and routes as part of a bigger trend in the airline industry that has made it harder for travelers to comparison shop.
That is the conclusion of a study by a Yale economics professor who estimates that travelers are losing out on more than $6 billion in savings a year because of the limits to shopping. In addition, the study says, the restrictions have prompted up to 41 million passengers a year to forgo air travel.
“At a time when independent, transparent comparison shopping is most needed, some airlines are attempting to restrict access to their fare and schedule information,” said the report by Fiona Scott Morton, an economics professor at the Yale School of Management. She conducted the study for the Travel Technology Association, a group that represents several travel websites.
The study said Delta removed its fares from about two dozen travel and metasearch sites since late 2010, including TripAdvisor.com, CheapAir.com, Vegas.com, AirGorilla.com and Fly.com. The study said American Airlines and United Airlines have also reduced distribution of their fares on travel websites in recent years.
Delta and several other airlines defended their right to choose where to display their fares and say travelers can still find many websites that let them comparison shop.
“Delta reserves the right to determine who it does business with and where and how its content is displayed,” the airline said in a statement.
Prepare to wait at NYC airports
If your summer vacation plans include flights in or out of New York or New Jersey airports, chances are pretty good that your flight will be delayed.
A study of on-time arrival rates over the last 10 summers found that the top three airports for summer delays are Newark-Liberty International, LaGuardia International and JFK International. Each of the top three have on-time arrival rates lower than 68 percent, according to the study by MileCards.com, a website that compares travel reward programs.
Blame the most congested air space in the U.S. and afternoon thunderstorms for the delays, said Brian Karimzad, MileCards.com’s director.
The best airports for summer on-time rates are Honolulu International, Salt Lake City International and Phoenix International, all of which have on-time rates above 80 percent, according to the study.
Lap of luxury for Chicago zoo gorillas
Gorillas are not regular guests at the swanky Hilton Chicago/Oakbrook Hills Resort & Conference Center, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy luxurious sheets from the high-priced hotel west of downtown Chicago.
The hotel has donated about 100 of its used 250-thread count sheets to the nearby Lincoln Park Zoo for use as nesting material for the western lowland gorillas.
When the hotel converted from a Marriott to a Hilton last year, the housekeeping staff had to figure out what to do with enough sheets to supply nearly 400 rooms and suites. Ed Bell, the hotel’s housekeeping director, said he offered the linen to homeless shelters as well as the local zoo.