Specializes in domestic travel and foreign cities with travel originating in the United States; includes foreign hotels and car rental. The company prides itself on its customer-care program, and "Travel Troubleshooter" Christopher Elliott agrees that, of the big travel Web agents, Orbitz uses the combination of people and technology most effectively. The site caters to niche travel markets, including family, ecotourism, and gay-and-lesbian.

Founded:

2001.

Sells:

Flights, hotels, rental cars, rail tickets, cruises, activities, vacation packages.

Does not include:

Some low-cost carriers, such as Southwest and Easyjet.

Booking fees:

$5-$12; additional $25 if booking via telephone.

Deals by e-mail:

By free subscription; you can sign up for deals in specific categories.

Last-minute deals area:

No, but a general "deals" area.

Fare alerts:

Deal Detector will alert you when the airfare drops to a price you've specified.

Phone support:

1-888-656-4546; 1,500 telephone agents, with 24/7 service; staff both in the United States and offshore. Telephone bookings incur an additional fee (usually $25).

Price guarantee:

If you find a lower hotel rate, you may e-mail a request for reimbursement.

Flexible date searches:

For airfares, on the home page.

Rewards program:

Earned by use of an affiliated Orbitz Mastercard.

User-generated hotel reviews:

By travelers who have stayed at the hotel and booked through Orbitz.

Cool tools:

OrbitzTLC is a suite of customer products that send you and up to six contacts alerts about changes in your itinerary, late-arrival alerts to hotels, and alerts supplied by other travelers and the FAA about airport conditions. All are delivered by mobile phone, PDA or text. The site allows allows mobile-access service of itineraries and last-minute hotel availability.

SOURCE: Orbitz, Miami Herald