American Airlines filed a complaint in Texas against Kayak asking it to stop “ongoing violations, and recover damages for prior violations, of the terms of its contract with American to distribute American fares and related information”.
A Kayak spokeswoman told Travolution that it would not comment specifically on the proceedings but said “both parties hope it doesn’t come to that”, when asked if it would be prepared to face American Airlines in court.
“I know that Kayak and AA would prefer to resolve the issue soon,” she continued.
The falling out was initially seen by many in the industry as primarily a verbal and short-term stand-off between two major travel companies which had got out of hand.
However, one senior figure close to the issue in the US, but not connected to Kayak or American Airlines, said the legal move had “raised the stakes” and could trigger a wave of soul-searching by already under-pressure airlines over their distribution costs.
“The challenge for meta search engines will be to convince suppliers that they add value to the cost-of-sale, rather than be seen as a part of the marketing fee,” the source said.
American Airlines has remained tight-lipped throughout the recent row with Kayak and was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.