So was American Airlines shocked by the vehemence of the opposition to its direct-connect strategy?
Bella Goren, CFO of parent company AMR Corp., said that the difficulty in achieving the airline’s distribution objectives was “not a total surprise,” although some of the actions taken by opponents allegedly were prohibited by contract.
Among the actions, Sabre and Travelport boosted fees on some American Airlines’ bookings, Sabre de-preferenced the airline’s flights in the GDS, and Expedia first biased the American flight displays and then removed them outright.
Asked during a conference call Jan. 19 on American’s fourth quarter 2010 earnings if the airline might retreat from its long-term direct-connect strategy given the short-term pain, Goren said that is not worth speculating about.
As American Airlines pursues its direct-connect strategy and its bid to build more-customized products and services for its passengers, the airline expressed confidence that things will utlimately turn out well.