Orbitz was originally formed by a group of leading U.S. airlines in 1999, to participate in the rapidly growing online travel industry. The airline investors in Orbitz consisted of American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines and United Air Lines. The Orbitz website was launched in 2001.
In November 2004, Orbitz was acquired by Cendant, whose travel distribution services division's online businesses were combined with Orbitz to create Orbitz Worldwide and became a public company in July 2007.
Today, Orbitz offers flights, hotels, car rental and cruises, and the ability to combine one or more components into a travel itinerary. Orbitz is particularly noted for the wide number of airlines offered in its search results, and the ability to create itineraries making use of multiple airlines but all on a single ticket.