In 2001, I was part of a small team at TBWA\Chiat\Day that was responsible for the graphical user interface for Orbitz.com at launch. The agency already had the advertising business, and it was the management's goal to coarse correct the product design, and have my team develop the visual design for the website, including the then famous "Matrix Display".
Most of the design was done to convince the clients, and the team at BCG in Chicago that this was the way to go. In the end we ended up doing a design shootout in conference rooms on the same floor in Chicago vs. the incumbent digital agency. The designs were then discussed in focus groups. Our designs were the crown favorite, and we were awarded the business. We followed through and created digital style guides as well. In 2003 Orbtiz went public!
At the time the "Matrix display" was a revolution in user interface design for showing flight search results. It gave the user the ability to see price, which airline and the number number of stops in one convenient view, reducing scroll, time spent, while increasing transactions.
Orbitz started as a joint venture between American Airlines and several others, however it was very clear from the beginning that owning ever aspect of travel was the founding teams' vision.
Customer service and Travel alerts were a top priority from the very begining, The Orbitz team saw an opportunity to serve the customer on multi-carrier trips better the the airlines themselves.