With a June 1 deadline approaching, a Sabre official told customers the company doesn't intend to immediately resume biasing American Airlines' flights in the global distribution system.
Chris Kroeger, Sabre's senior vice president of marketing, told travel agents and corporate customers in a conference call today that Sabre believes it is still under a temporary restraining order and is prohibited from biasing American Airlines' flights while the order is in place, according to sources.
Sabre biased the airline's flights in the Sabre GDS in early January, but put the flights back to normal when American Airlines won and temporary restraining order and the two parties agreed to put their litigation on hiatus until June 1 while they attempted to negotiate a new full-content agreement.
Kroeger declined to speculate on what actions Sabre might take if the temporary restraining order is lifted, adding that Sabre generally believes it is well within its rights to bias American Airlines' flights.
In January, Sabre and American agreed to put aside their litigation until June 1 while they tried to reach a new full content agreement. If no agreement is reached before tomorrow, June 1, their litigation kicks back into gear.
However, Sabre believes a temporary restraining order barring the kind of display biasing which Sabre undertook in early January remains in effect until a judge schedules a hearing on the issue.
When GDSs bias an airline's flights, they generally place them very low in searches, making the schedules and fares difficult for agents to find and use.
The full-content agreement between Sabre and American expires Aug. 31 and Kroeger told customers that Sabre is committed to reaching a new deal, sources said.
Kroeger said American Airlines is the sole U.S. major carrier facing a contract renewal in 2011 and the agreement would serve as a template for future airline deals.
American Airlines couldn't immediately be reached for comment about the display biasing issue.