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Orbitz Worldwide and Walgreens Launch Partnership to Keep Travelers Healthy
New poll reveals 25 percent of travelers have had holiday trips interrupted by illness

CHICAGO and DEERFIELD, Ill., Nov. 11, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --

With more than 40 million Americans expected to travel this holiday season, Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE: OWW) and Walgreens (NYSE, Nasdaq: WAG) today launched a year-long initiative to help keep travelers healthy. As part of today's announcement, the two companies released the results of a new poll that found 25 percent of holiday travelers surveyed have had travel plans interrupted by unexpected illness.

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The poll also found that while more than a third (36 percent) of travelers say they've gotten a flu shot this season, nearly half (44 percent) don't plan to get one.

"This reinforces the need to educate travelers about important yet easy steps they can take to stay healthy during the holiday travel season," said Cheryl Pegus, Walgreens chief medical officer. "As travelers place a growing emphasis on health and wellness, we'll provide the resources and information to help them stay well throughout the year."

Under the partnership, Orbitz and Walgreens will also work together on cross-promotional marketing programs, offering exclusive travel discounts and deals to Walgreens customers, and will highlight consumer research and educational campaigns focused on being a healthy traveler.

"This partnership will help improve the holistic travel experience for individuals and families, first focusing on raising awareness for our customers about preventive health care measures that can help make for a happy holiday," said Jeanenne Tornatore, senior travel editor of Orbitz.com. "A major underlying goal is to further educate and inform travelers and encourage them to be proactive about seeking advice from health care experts about how they can maintain a healthy lifestyle during the holidays."

Orbitz and Walgreens Holiday Travel Study

The poll released today shows results from 1,000 consumers, and included questions related to the importance of preventive health measures, such as flu shots, to travelers.

Survey highlights include:

  • Nearly two-thirds of all respondents (59 percent) feel travel isn't a factor in impacting their health, however the remaining 41 percent believe that it does increase their chances of getting sick.
  • The most common preventive measure people take to stay healthy while traveling over the holidays is to wash hands frequently and/or use sanitizers (58 percent). Getting a flu shot is second most common, with 29 percent who say they get one as a practice. Not over-eating was the least common response.
  • Of travelers surveyed who haven't received a flu shot, 52 percent said they don't believe they're effective and 26 percent said they're afraid it may actually give them the flu. Note: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other national health authorities, a person cannot get the flu from an injectable flu shot.
  • Conversely, of the respondents that have gotten or plan to get a flu shot this season, 75 percent said their primary reason for doing so was as a "general precaution during the colder fall and winter months." Nearly 15 percent got a flu shot because they are traveling over the holidays or they have children at home.
  • The survey found that of respondents with health insurance, 61 percent said that flu shots are covered as a benefit under their insurance plan. Nearly one-in-five (18 percent) said they don't know whether flu shots are covered.

"This is an important time for flu shots and prevention because flu season peaks in January and February nearly 70 percent of the time," Pegus added. "These are the coldest months and they also happen to come right on the heels of the upcoming holidays."

Pegus suggests the following measures for travelers to stay healthy through the holidays:

  • Get a seasonal flu shot
  • Wash hands frequently using soap and water or an alcohol-based rub
  • Don't touch your eyes, hands or mouth when hands haven't been washed
  • Get enough sleep - Annals of Medicine studies show those who get fewer than seven hours of sleep are three times more likely to develop a cold when exposed to the virus
  • Eat right and exercise regularly

Moving forward, Orbitz and Walgreens will continue to work together on quarterly initiatives to promote healthy travel lifestyles such as the recent holiday travel survey. Additionally, Walgreens customers will receive exclusive hotel and travel deals available through Orbitz.com. In turn, Orbitz customers will benefit from special offers on products and services at Walgreens 7,600 locations. Both companies will support the program with cross-promotional brand visibility, educational outreach to customers and ongoing publicity efforts throughout 2011.

Methodology

The Orbitz and Walgreens holiday travel survey was conducted online from 10/25/10 through 10/27/10, using an InsightExpress survey of 1,000 respondents age 18 or older located in the U.S.

About Orbitz Worldwide

Orbitz Worldwide is a leading global online travel company that uses innovative technology to enable leisure and business travelers to research, plan and book a broad range of travel products. Orbitz Worldwide owns a portfolio of consumer brands that includes Orbitz (www.orbitz.com), CheapTickets (www.cheaptickets.com), ebookers (www.ebookers.com), HotelClub (www.hotelclub.com), RatesToGo (www.ratestogo.com) and the Away Network (www.away.com). Also within the Orbitz Worldwide family, Orbitz Worldwide Distribution (http://corp.orbitz.com/partnerships/distribution) delivers private label travel solutions to a broad range of partners including many of the world's largest airlines, and Orbitz for Business (www.orbitzforbusiness.com) delivers managed corporate travel solutions for corporations. For more information on partnership opportunities with Orbitz Worldwide, visit corp.orbitz.com. Orbitz Worldwide uses its Investor Relations website to make information available to its investors and the public at http://www.orbitz-ir.com. You can sign up to receive email alerts whenever the company posts new information to the website.

About Walgreens

Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) is the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2010 sales of $67 billion. The company operates 7,608 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each day, Walgreens provides nearly 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility, long-term care and mail service, along with pharmacy benefit solutions and respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. Walgreens Take Care Health Systems subsidiary is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.

SOURCE Orbitz Worldwide

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding Orbitz Worldwide Inc.'s business which are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report or Form 10-K for the most recently ended fiscal year.