Although Travelocity's parent, Sabre, took stiff actions today to bias American Airlines' fares in the GDS that powers Travelocity, the online travel agency has made no changes in the way it displays American Airlines' flights.
Part of the reason may be that Travelocity has its own contract with American Airlines.
"We have not made any changes to our site, but continue to consider available options consistent with our contractual obligations," says Travelocity spokesman Joel Frey. "Travelocity opposes AA’s recent efforts to push agencies to a technology approach that would be bad for consumers, and we applaud Sabre’s actions in support of travelers."
So, while thousands of other travel agencies hooked up to the Sabre GDS now have to hunt to locate American Airlines' flights way down in availability and shopping displays, consumers using Travelocity, which is connected to the same system, will find American Airlines' fares readily available.
Meanwhile, don't expect Priceline to be biasing or removing American Airlines' flights any time soon.
As of this morning, Priceline's flight page features a box touting the fact that American Airlines' fares are no longer viewable on rivals Orbitz and Expedia, but are available on Priceline.
"We shop all the major airlines, including American Airlines," Priceline states. "Expedia and Orbitz don't."
While American Airlines removed its inventory from Orbitz Worldwide sites Dec. 20 and Expedia hit the delete button on the airline's flights Jan. 1 after the Expedia-AA contract expired, Priceline has a "long-term contract" with American and apparently won't be biasing its flights any time soon.
Unlike Travelocity, Priceline uses multiple GDSs, including Travelport and Sabre.
Because the Travelocity-American and Priceline-American contracts are proprietary, it's unclear how GDS maneuverings will impact online travel agency economics.
American charges travel agencies a surcharge on bookings made through Travelport, but that applies only to agencies outside the U.S.
And, the airline has yet to reveal if it would level any surcharges against agencies booking through Sabre.
At any rate, Priceline appears unfazed by Sabre's actions and hopes to take advantage of the airline's absence in Expedia and Orbitz.