American Airlines has been ordered by an Illinois court to begin posting and selling flights on Orbitz (a travel reservation website), once again after the airlines had stopped posting flights for more than five months on the top airline ticket seller’s site. The courts ruling sent Orbitz’s shares booming by 50 percent just after a couple hours. Travelport, Ltd., Orbitz’s majority owner, claimed that the court admitted to making an error in not stopping American from pulling its listing last year. As of now, American claims they will comply with the court’s order and are still planning their next move.
The ruling came about just in time amongst the fight between airlines, travel agents, and middlemen (known as global distribution systems). The ordeal stems from a disagreement of how information regarding fares and schedules are provided to travel agencies and their customers. American outraged Sabre Holdings Corp., which owns the Travelocity website, when they added the company to the list of defendants in the lawsuit filed a couple months ago. The actual dispute lies among the airlines and the global distributions systems, which take the flight information and make it available to sites such as Travelocity and Orbitz.
Sabre Holdings Corp. responded to American’s suit, claiming that American is illegally trying to force travel agents to obtain flight information through their company rather than the distributors. Sabre claims that American is allegedly aiming at eliminating all competition through taking business and putting distributors out of business. American is seeking damages and will present their case to the court. In the mean time, the U.S. Justice Department is investigating any violations that the distribution companies may have made.