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American Airlines, Sabre put dispute on hold

American Airlines Inc. and Sabre Holdings Corp. put litigation on hold and said they will try to reach a deal to end a dispute over how the carrier's fares are displayed to travel agents and customers.
/ Source: The Associated Press

American Airlines and reservations systems operator Sabre Holdings Corp. are putting their feud on hold while they work out a new contract.

The companies have been tangling over how American distributes its fare and schedule information. The dispute escalated earlier this month when Sabre said it would downplay search results from American on the screens that travel agents use. A Texas judge blocked Sabre's move on Jan. 10.

Litigation between the two companies is now on hold until June 1. American said on Monday that it and Sabre will now try to reach a new agreement. In the meantime, it said both sides will operate as they did before the dispute began earlier this month. Both companies declined to elaborate on the agreement to delay their litigation.

Travel agents generally get fares from electronic middlemen such as Sabre, called global distribution systems. Those distributors add a fee on each transaction. Airlines have been looking to reduce those distribution costs, and also to sell add-ons such as baggage fees and better seats at the time the ticket is sold.

Online travel agencies Orbitz and Expedia have stopped displaying American flights, forcing consumers elsewhere to buy American Airlines tickets. But the rift with Sabre was a more direct threat to American's business, because Sabre provides fare information to agencies used by corporate travel managers.