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Traveler's Aid: Online Update (11/01/2002)

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It has been said that even the longest journey begins with a single step. And these days, that single step is usually toward the computer to snag a cheap plane ticket. Airlines offer bargain-basement fares online because getting passengers to book flights over the Internet saves them a chunk o' change in distribution costs. They figure most travelers are more than happy to book online if they can save a few bucks -- and, they're right.

But the "Golden Age" of bargain-basement Web-only fares may be starting to wane. America West has already cut way back on deep-discount Internet fares, and US Airways has recently agreed to give travel agents the same fares it offers on Orbitz. Can we expect this trend to continue? Antonella Pianalto, executive director of the Interactive Travel Services Association, talks with us about the future of online booking.

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