American Airlines pulls fares off Orbitz travel website

Posted Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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American Airlines pulled its airfares off Orbitz on Tuesday after it couldn’t reach a deal for a new contract with the travel website.

The Fort Worth-based carrier said it will also withdraw US Airways fares from the site on Monday. Corporate customers who use Orbitz for Business will not be affected, American said.

“We have worked tirelessly with Orbitz to reach a deal with the economics that allow us to keep costs low and compete with low-cost carriers,” American President Scott Kirby said in a statement.

At issue are the fees that American and other airlines pay travel reservation systems to display flights and make bookings. American has wanted more of its travel partners, such as travel agencies and websites, to connect directly to its own system to save the airline booking fees.

Shares of Orbitz (ticker: OWW) dropped 5 percent to $8.04 on the New York Stock Exchange. American’s shares (ticker: AAL) declined 33 cents to $39.09 on Nasdaq.

Orbitz spokesman Chris Chiames confirmed that American’s fares are no longer available on the site.

“Our sites offer hundreds of airlines which are eager to capture the revenue American is choosing to forgo and we will continue to show our customers a broad range of flight options to thousands of destinations in the U.S. and worldwide,” Chiames said in a statement.

Tickets previously purchased on Orbitz are still valid for travel on American. But any changes to the reservations must be made through American, the carrier said.

This is not the first time that American has pulled its fares from a travel website. In 2010, it withdrew its fares from Orbitz because the site refused to use a direct connection to American’s reservation system. The carrier also filed an antitrust lawsuit against Orbitz and its parent company, Travelport, which operates the Worldspan and Galileo global distribution systems.

Both sides settled the litigation in 2013 with content agreements extending through the end of that year, prompting new negotiations this year between Orbitz and American.

American was involved in similar litigation with Southlake-based Sabre Holdings. A settlement in 2012 awarded American an estimated $280 million.

Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7631 Twitter: @Sky_Talk

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