Well, it looks like it really might happen: American will pull their fares from Kayak.com (and sister site Sidestep.com), as Sean O'Neill reports on BudgetTravel.com. Interestingly, the two US airlines that only sell their fares on their own sites, Southwest and Allegiant, are the only two that are making profits, as Jared Blank of Online Travel Review, points reports.
Why is this happening? Kayak's CEO claims that, "American asked us to suppress search results from competing websites as a condition to displaying their fares. This is simply not something that Kayak will do. Imagine Sony telling Best Buy that they couldn’t sell Panasonic?"
Shades of Southwest pulling out of Travelocity.com oh so many years ago?
Is this a sign of things to come? As we've pointed out before, American already offers big discounts to those signing up for its DealFinder service, whose fares are only available on AA.com. These days, airline travel sites sell more than airfares. They also sell merchandise, hotels, rental cars, and package deals. And they market their frequent flyer programs and other products. So doesn't it make sense to lure consumers to their own sites, rather than going through middlemen (online travel agencies) to whom they also have to pay commissions?