Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Airlines

Sabre Sues Hawaiian Airlines for Alleged Breach of Contract

5 months ago

Global distribution system provider Sabre is alleging that beginning May 31 Hawaiian Airlines implemented a new distribution policy that prevented U.S.-based travel agents using Sabre from booking the airline’s inter-island flights, and also began levying U.S.-based travel agents a $7 per segment surcharge on all bookings of all other Hawaiian Airlines’ flights through Sabre.

Those breach-of-contract allegations are laid out in a federal lawsuit filed August 30 in the Southern District of New York.

Hawaiian Airlines
A Hawaiian Airlines aircraft in 2021. Source: Eric Salary, Wikipedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hawaiian_Airlines,Airbus_A330-243,_N395HASEA(18160775328).jpg

Hawaiian has an assortment of inter-island flights such as Maui to Oahu, for example.

Saying the pandemic shrunk the airline’s network by 13 percent compared to 2019, Hawaiian informed travel agents several months ago that all of its flights, including its inter-island schedule, would be available to U.S. travel agents without surcharges through alternative means, including  HA Connect, the Hawaiian Airlines Partner Portal, and HA Connect Approved Partners. These include: ATPCO, ClarityTTS, NuFlights, Thomalex, Tidesquare, Travelfusion, TravelNDC, and Verteil Technologies, according to the airline.

Hawaiian said these partners use the New Distribution Capability, and connect to travel agencies through API (application programming interface) technology as an alternative to global distribution systems.

“Hawaiian’s breaches have also put Sabre at a competitive disadvantage,” Sabre said in the lawsuit.

Hawaiian Airlines denied that it breached its contract with Sabre.

“We believe Sabre’s claims to be baseless and that we are acting well within our contractual rights as we implement a new distribution strategy replacing dated technology with the modern NDC standard,” the airline said in a statement. “We intend to vigorously defend against these claims.”

Sabre seeks a jury trial and to recover damages.

A significant portion of the lawsuit is redacted to protect contract details.

Sabre-lawsuit-against-Hawaiian

Airlines

U.S. Unveils New Airline Customer Service Portal

5 months ago

Air travelers in the U.S. now have a one-stop shop when it comes to knowing what airlines will provide them with in the event of a lengthy flight delay or cancellation.

The new Airline Customer Service Dashboard by the Department of Transportation is designed to “ensure the traveling public has easy access” to airline commitments in the event of a disrupted trip, the regulator said Thursday. The commitments, which are largely a list of existing airline policies compiled together in one place, only apply to “controllable” events, or one where the airline is at fault, for example staff shortages.

(DOT)

“Passengers deserve transparency and clarity on what to expect from an airline when there is a cancelation or disruption,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “This dashboard collects that information in one place so travelers can easily understand their rights, compare airline practices, and make informed decisions.”

For example, if a travelers flight is delayed more than three hours due to a mechanical problem with the aircraft, the dashboard shows that they are guaranteed a meal voucher on almost all major airlines except Allegiant Air. However, if their flight is cancelled, only American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and United Airlines will rebook them on another carrier.

“Carriers welcome opportunities to simplify travel policies, clarify existing practices and increase transparency for travelers,” a spokesperson for trade group Airlines for America said.

The new dashboard follows a spike in flight delays and cancellations earlier this year that resulted in a blame game between airlines and authorities. While acknowledging their own staffing issues, airlines have claimed that air traffic control staffing has exacerbated the situation while the DOT has argued that the situation is primarily the fault airlines and weather. Whatever the reason, the regulator has moved to improve airline passenger protections, including a new rule that would guarantee cash refunds.

View the Airline Customer Service Dashboard

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