American said Saber’s new format for displaying airfares violated its contract with American by skewing search results in favor of domestic rival Delta Airlines.
In May, Saber announced a multi-year distribution contract with Delta that promised to use more modern methods of “merchandising” airline ticket content, such as Change reported.
American said that in its review of an overview of the interface provided by Saber, the airline “discovered numerous instances of a storefront favoring Delta products over American, including displays that omit, obscure or distort certain American products “.
The airline said it violated its contract with Saber, which requires the tech company to display its content “in a fair, neutral and accurate manner.” The wording of the lawsuit implied that the carrier had “anti-billboard” and “anti-financial incentive” terms in its distribution contract with Saber.
Saber said he did not have a commentary on the trial, embedded below.
The details of Saber’s deal with Delta referred to amended terms of business in support of its latest distribution contract renewal, but it’s common for companies to not go into details of the contract terms.
American cited a few examples that he said were biased. One is that it has claimed Delta’s Comfort Plus product, which allows travelers to board early and take seats with more legroom and other perks for an additional price. American claimed that in the screen versions of Saber that it saw, American’s comparable bundled products were not presented as clearly as a comparison. The lawsuit alleged that the posting “misleadingly conveys to travel agents that Delta has products that American does not.”
“American is Saber’s biggest customer today,” the lawsuit said. The two companies have previously argued in court over matters such as the merger partner of the airline US Airways and other antitrust allegations, which Saber denied.
At an investor conference in May, Glen Hauenstein, president of Delta, commented on the Saber deal in an interview with Hunter Keay, senior analyst at Wolfe Research.
“We have encouraged our redistributors to deliver all this spectrum of value to the end user,” Hauenstein said. “Our Saber agreement was part of it. We want to align the value chain.
“Before that, everything was treated the same, even though the value to the airline and the margins weren’t the same,” Hauenstein said. “So trying to line that up to get people to sell into the higher end cabins where the margins are higher was really the driving force behind this deal.”
Photo credit: Robert W. Baker Integrated Operations Center of American Airlines in Texas. American Airlines