JetBlue stops selling flights on a dozen online travel agencies

Key Points
  • JetBlue cut ties with a dozen online travel agencies.
  • The cost-cutting measure is meant to drive travelers to JetBlue's site.
  • Major online agencies such as Expedia and Priceline were not on the list.
  • The airline is not ruling out additional cuts.
JetBlue planes at a gate at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
Mark Kauzlarich | Bloomberg | Getty Images

JetBlue wants your getaway to start on its homepage.

The New York-based airline on Thursday said it stopped selling tickets through a dozen online travel sites, a cost-cutting measure that's meant to drive more traffic to the airline's website.

"This move is part of our structural cost program to reduce costs across the airline," JetBlue spokesman Morgan Johnston told CNBC in an emailed statement. "By eliminating lower-tier online travel agencies, we're also helping ensure customers have the best experience possible since direct bookings deliver benefits to customers."

Airlines pay third-party fare distributors a fee for their fares to appear on websites.

The list included relatively small sites such as Vayama and Kiwi, and not giants such as Priceline and Expedia, but Johnston said, "[D]epending on the results of this effort, you may see us end additional relationships."

The change is a page out of the playbook of no-frills carrier Southwest Airlines, which does not post its fares on online travel sites.

JetBlue shares gained 1.4 percent to end the day at $20.34. Meanwhile, other U.S. airlines slumped, after United Airlines disappointed investors on a tense quarterly earnings call, where executives discussed competition from low-cost carriers and higher costs.

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