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American Airlines in
U.S. District Court of Northern Texas filed a civil
antitrust lawsuit against Travelport and Orbitz to prevent the
distributors from engaging in "exclusionary and anticompetitive business
practices." AA claimed that Travelport, "which effectively controls
the distribution of fares and other content to a large number of travel
agencies and their corporate customers," has unlawfully stymied "new
competition by alternative technologies that are both less expensive and more
According to AA, "because Travelport provides
virtually 100 percent of the bookings for a large number of corporate customers
whose travel agents subscribe to one of Travelport's GDSs, it has monopoly power
acts and practices" undertaken by Travelport, as AA alleged, include:
"anticompetitive contract terms in their agreements with participating
airlines that severely limit the airlines' ability to develop, promote, or use competing
distribution channels"; "long-term restrictive agreements with travel
agent subscribers that require or incentivize travel agents to use Travelport's
GDSs exclusively, or nearly exclusively"; and "retaliating against
American and other companies that take action that potentially threatens the
GDS monopoly position."
Those retaliations, according to AA's suit, thus far have included a
doubling of AA's booking fees for non-U.S. reservations, misrepresenting AA's
fares "in a manner that made them appear more expensive than they actually
were to consumers outside the United States" and other actions affecting
AA is seeking to recover damages and asked the court for "injunctive relief from the defendants'
Travelport issued a
statement indicating it would "vigorously defend against [the] ludicrous
and meritless antitrust lawsuit. In unsuccessful negotiations and now in
litigation, AA seeks to limit consumer choice in shopping for fares and to
limit consumer access to other relevant data. Travelport believes this lawsuit
is merely another attempt by AA to gain bargaining leverage through litigation.
AA's unfortunate choice to litigate frivolous positions, rather than engage in
fair and constructive negotiations, leaves Travelport with no alternative
except to defend these claims vigorously and to take all appropriate legal
Also named as a
defendant in the suit, Orbitz Worldwide called AA's claims "baseless"
and "the latest in a series of tactics to force Orbitz to adopt an airline
ticket distribution model that limits consumer choice and inhibits competition.
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