A judge in Chicago ruled in American Airlines favor on Tuesday, denying Travelport’s request for a preliminary injunction against the airline and its efforts to pull its fares from Orbitz, the online travel agency of which Travelport is a part owner. Orbitz is also a major Travelport client.
Judge Martin Agran issued the ruling in Travelport, LP v. American Airlines, Inc. in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. The ruling said, in essence, that Orbitz can sue American later to sort out whether the airline breached its contract with Orbitz.
American said that it would immediately pull its content from Orbitz as a result of the court ruling. The airline will discontinue displaying and selling fares through Orbitz and its subsidiary, Orbitz for Business. Tickets for travel already purchased through Orbitz remain valid, but changes must be made through American Airlines reservations by calling 800-433-7300.
Travelport had filed the lawsuit to block American from following through on its threat to stop Orbitz from selling tickets on American’s flights as of Dec. 1. Travelport said the move would breach American’s contract with Orbitz and cause Travelport substantial harm. The dispute centers on American’s efforts to work with agencies using its Direct Connect platform.
Travelport said it was disappointed by the ruling and, although the motion for a preliminary injunction was denied, the case will continue on its merits until the request for a declaratory judgment is adjudicated. Travelport said that it remains confident that it will ultimately prevail on the merits of the matter.
Orbitz said that revenue it earned on
Consumer and business travel groups quickly criticized the court’s decision. The Business Travel Coalition said that the outcome unfavorably impacts Orbitz customers and Orbitz For Business corporate clients by reducing fare searching, booking and servicing efficiencies. The BTC said that travel professionals around the world have recognized that this lawsuit represents merely the opening skirmish in the larger battle for the future of the open marketplace for travel.
The Consumer Travel Alliance said that American is making a “heavy-handed” attempt to prevent consumers from easily searching and comparing its fares against those of other airlines.
Sabre also weighed in on the court decision. “We oppose American¹s efforts to impose a costly and unproven system on travel agents and
The battle reflects the evolution of
American says that it wants to use