Priceline has dropped the program that made it famous nearly 20 years ago: Name Your Own Price airfare, which allowed users to bid on flights. Only if successful would they find the exact airline and schedule.
Name Your Own Price continues for hotel rooms and rental cars, but the model apparently no longer worked for airfare. In the meantime, Priceline has become one of the world's largest online travel agencies and the parent of such companies as booking.com, Open Table and more.
And Star Trek actor William Shatner made a whole new career as spokesperson and icon for the company.
Among the factors that have made Name Your Own Price a thing of the past are more options for searching discount fares, government rules that allow changing your mind within 24 hours, while Priceline didn't allow it at all, and a structure of airline fees that meant your bargain NYOP fare might not be as cheap as a fare on another airline that didn't, say, charge for your carryon.
Priceline still has a version of blind bidding for airfare, its Express Fares. You don't bid, you just select the offered fare, which is supposed to be a deep discount. However, the discounts are not consistently deep enough to always avoid paying more through fees...and they're not refundable.