American Airlines and Orbitz have a smackdown

The battle over selling fares between American Airlines and Orbitz, both strong supporters of the LGBT community and members of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, hit a new high last week.

On Wednesday, April 13, American announced that it filed a lawsuit against Orbitz:

American Airlines Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Travelport and Orbitz

American Airlines has filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Travelport, LLC, and Orbitz Worldwide to stop exclusionary and anticompetitive business practices of the defendants and recover monetary damages that American has incurred as a result of these harmful actions.

The lawsuit states that Travelport, which effectively controls the distribution of fares and other content to a large number of travel agencies and their corporate customers, has engaged in anticompetitive conduct to protect its market position from new competition by alternative technologies that are both less expensive and more capable.

The suit, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, also claims that illegal actions of Travelport and Orbitz have harmed consumers by suppressing innovation that would be beneficial to airline passengers. In addition to requesting injunctive relief from the defendants’ actions, American is seeking recovery of monetary damages.

The lawsuit follows extensive, yet unsuccessful, discussions between American and Orbitz and Travelport (Orbitz is affiliated with Travelport) to resolve a dispute over distribution of the airline’s fares and schedules. American intends to honor its existing contractual obligations with Travelport throughout the proceedings of this action and expects it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

More information about American’s intent to improve distribution, as well as a copy of the complaint, is available at www.DistributionUpdate.com.

Orbitz’ response to the lawsuit:

Orbitz Worldwide Responds to Anti-Consumer Bullying Tactics and the Baseless Lawsuit Filed by American Airlines

The following statement by Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE:OWW) is in response to a lawsuit filed yesterday in Texas by American Airlines against Travelport and Orbitz:

“American Airlines’ baseless claims against Orbitz are the latest in a series of tactics to force Orbitz to adopt an airline ticket distribution model that limits consumer choice and inhibits competition.

It is important to keep the facts straight.  American Airlines made the decision to play the role of the marketplace bully and pull its fares from Orbitz.  Having failed to force Orbitz to adopt unproven technology that does not meet the needs of our customers, American Airlines is now resorting to groundless litigation in a desperate attempt to revive an unsuccessful strategy.

The unfortunate truth is that American Airlines is attempting to deprive consumers of the ability to compare prices across competing airlines.

Orbitz gives consumers access to powerful tools that allow them to search across hundreds of airlines and millions of itinerary options to easily book the trip that best meets their needs.

Since it was launched in 2001, Orbitz has been at the forefront of improving the travel experience for consumers.

Orbitz will defend itself with vigor and is leaving open all possible options to seek relief from American Airlines’ predatory actions.”

So much for the friendly skies.

Troy Petenbrink is Metro Weekly's contributing writer for food and travel. He can be reached at troy@metroweekly.com.

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