Discount travel site Hotwire is expected to announce Thursday that sales levels have returned to what they were before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., the company said. Most Web travel agencies have said that their sales are approaching normal levels, but they have yet to fully recover. Backed by some of the top airlines, Hotwire is an opaque travel site that deals in deeply discounted fares but hides the name of the carrier and departure time until the fare is paid for.
In a down economy, consumers are more price-conscious than ever and analysts have said that discount travel sites could recover quicker than retail agencies, such as Orbitz, Travelocity.com and Expedia. But the lull in business caused by the terrorist attacks affected most travel companies. Last month, the San Francisco-based company laid off about 10 percent of its staff in a cost-cutting move.