American Airlines, Sabre to seek peace - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

American Airlines, Sabre to seek peace

 By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HONOLULU and FT. WORTH, TEX. (HawaiiNewsNow) - American Airlines, whose battle with third-party online travel booking sites and networks could change the way consumers buy plane tickets, has agreed to make a fresh attempt at a negotiated settlement.

American and the reservations network Sabre Holdings jointly announced Monday that they 'have agreed to put the litigation between the two companies on hold until June 1."

The two companies, both headquarters in Ft. Worth, Tex., said they would begin work "shortly" on a new effort to reach agreement on contract terms when a ticket for travel on American is placed using the Sabre network.

"Both parties will return to operating as they were prior to Jan. 5, 2011, in terms of Sabre displays, American Airlines content and economic terms," the two companies said in their joint release.

They also agreed not say anything more than that.

American Airlines began seeking renegotiated terms with third party ticket sellers several weeks ago. It took its fares off Orbitz. Then rival Expedia first buried and then removed American listings. The battle then spread to Sabre, which owns Travelocity. American continues to sell tickets on Priceline and other third party sites as well as on its own website, and said December bookings actually rose. At issue, for American, was how much revenue from the price of a ticket is shared with a third-party travel portal and a reservations network like Sabre used by that portal.

The matter, however it is settled, will affect all airlines, and could make it more difficult for Hawaii visitors to do one-stop comparison shopping for plane tickets.

American Airlines itself founded Sabre - whose name was an acronym for Semi-Automatic Business Research Environment - after a 1953 flight in which an IBM salesman sat next to the president of American Airlines and told him how computers could solve his backlogs in manual reservations.

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