Going Once... Airline Tickets for Auction?

That's not really so surprising. You see, the airlines have long loathed the Internet: after all, it turned their product -- airline tickets -- into a measurable commodity. No longer were fliers forced to call up a travel agent, ask for a quote, and then pay it, no questions asked.

The Internet turned us all into our own travel agents who could use the Web to make easy price comparisons and pay as little as possible.

Now will we amateur travel agents flock to auctions? Some of us already have -- by late last week, JetBlue's eBay experiment seemed to be doing a brisk business. Early reports said bidding for some tickets had reached a couple of hundred bucks, while the auction was still under way.

If you figure JetBlue was trying to get rid of tickets they weren't otherwise able to sell, well, they're already ahead of the game to get any bids at all.

And maybe -- just maybe -- the airline will find it actually makes a profit on the auction. JetBlue says it'll have to evaluate the process, and take a close look at the feedback they are getting, before they decide whether to put seats on the block again.

A question for you fliers out there: Would you go through the inconvenience of bidding if you were pretty sure you'd get a good deal? I can't see this working for business travelers of course, but what about you leisure fliers -- do the words "going once, going twice" get you going?

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Rick Seaney is one of the country's leading experts on airfare, giving interviews and analysis to news organizations, including ABC News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The Associated Press and Bloomberg. His Web site FareCompare.com offers consumers free, new-generation software, combined with expert insider tips to find the best airline ticket deal.

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