INTERACTIVE: WEB TRAVEL GETS A FACELIFT: AIRLINES RELAUNCH SITES, PREVIEW TEAMS WITH EXCITE

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The online travel marketplace is heating up, with new partnerships and revamped airline sites launching on the Web.

Today, AMR Corp.'s American Airlines will announce it has selected interactive agency Quantum Leap, Chicago, to redesign its Web site (www.americanair.com), after a review. Billings were undisclosed.

Development of the American Airlines site, which now includes flight and air fare information; online reservations; frequent flier program updates; and other travel information, had been handled in-house. American Airlines' agency of record is Temerlin McClain, Irving, Texas.

Also, United Airlines is planning to relaunch its Web site this fall to reflect its new "Rising" brand image online, said Matt Myers, Web site manager for United, Elk Grove, Ill. United's "Rising" campaign, developed by its agency of record Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, broke this spring.

The redesigned Web site will be a collaborative effort among United, Fallon and Leo Burnett's Giant Step, Chicago, which designed the United Web site (www.ual.com).

PREVIEW DEAL WORTH $15 MILLION

In a major deal announced last week, search engine Excite formed a partnership with Preview Travel, in which the online travel site will pay Excite $15 million over five years to be its exclusive travel service.

Excite and Preview will provide joint content and share revenue from advertising and transactions.

The joint service-which is accessible through Excite's Travel Channel (http://city.net), WebCrawler (http://webcrawler.city.net) and Preview Travel (http://preview

travel.com)-will draw content from Disney's Family.com, HarperCollins' Access Press, Web Flyer magazine, GeoSystems' MapQuest and the Weather Channel. Preview is also available on America Online.

Excite and Preview had been loosely aligned for the last five months, an experience that sparked this partnership, said Preview President-CEO Ken Orton.

Charter advertisers for the co-branded service, which will be completed later this year, include MasterCard International, AT&T Corp., Continental Airlines, Embassy Suites, Virgin Atlantic and Volvo Cars of North America.

In another development, Air Canada is launching an online ticket office that will highlight the carrier's revamped Web site. The new Cyber Ticket Office is set to go live next month on the No. 1 Canadian carrier's site (www.aircanada.ca).

It's the first Internet ticket offering for a Canadian airline and will let individuals and travel agents anywhere in the world book their flights with Air Canada, its regional affiliates or international partners.

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