Expedia, Orbitz, stops selling Venezuela tickets in the midst of turmoil

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Travel sites such as Expedia and Orbitz have quietly stopped selling airline tickets to Venezuela during the recent political turmoil, and isolate the socialist country after several years of declining air service.

On Thursday, it was impossible to find on the popular sites some Venezuelan cities in the drop-down list of booking options for hotels and flights to the South American country.

The Bellevue, Washington-based Expedia Group, said the company was acting on behalf of travelers "well-being and in line with recent travel practices of foreign authorities on crime and civil unrest."

"When the minister has reached a certain level of travel agency, we take steps to end destinations on our pages," spokeswoman Sarah Gavin told The Associated Press. "This" stop sell "will remain in force until the situation in Venezuela improves and raises consultations."

Orbitz did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The move comes after the US Department of Jan 29 The Americans should not travel to Venezuela, warning of unrest and the threat of arbitrary arrest and deprivation after President Nicolas Madour's decision to cut diplomatic relations with the United States.

By raising the travel description to the highest level, Venezuela joins a handful of most-party war-torn countries ̵[ads1]1; Yemen, South Sudan, and Libya – that the US government has classified as "not traveling" destinations.

The same advice encouraged Americans to "consider traveling while commercial flights are available."

For Venezuelans, as well as the few foreign business travelers and journalists still making their way to the country, travel opportunities have seen a steep decline as The country has dumped deeper into economic chaos characterized by 7-digit hyperinflation and widespread deficiency.

American Airlines, with two daily flights from Caracas to Miami, is the only remaining US carrier to provide service to the country after Delta and United Airlines departed in 2017 in the midst of a political crisis that has forced millions to flee the country.

Around the same time several European and Latin American airlines also left. Meanwhile, Spain's Iberia and Portugal's TAP have recently put a stop to the Caribbean for their transatlantic flights, so crews do not have to stay overnight in combat land.

If you want to go locally, the few financially struggling Venezuelan airlines are flying older aircraft and have a mocking security record. In 2017, Avior Airlines, one of the country's largest, was banned from the EU sky after a commission had decided it was no longer in line with international security standards.

Many people expect travel headaches to worsen now that the United States has sanctioned Venezuela's state

More than 40 people have died in Venezuela among demonstrations that started last month when Juan Guaido, the leader of the opposition-controlled Congress, declared himself temporary president and quickly drew recognition as Venezuela's fair leader from the United States and dozens of other nations.

Venezuela has grown increasingly isolated as an expanding list of airlines canceling the service with low customer demand and financial distress. The International Air Transport Association has said that Venezuela owes $ 3.8 billion to several international airlines, a debt not expected to repay at any time soon. The government defaulted on thousands of dollars to bonds.


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AP Author David Koenig contributed to this report from Dallas

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