Skift Travel News Blog

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

Hotels

Hyatt Hit With Class Action Suit Over Hotel ‘Junk Fees’ Despite Changing Policy

6 months ago

Travelers United’s choice to sue Hyatt over its “junk fee” practices fits into a broader storyline about travel junk fees being in the limelight ever since President Joe Biden referred to travel fees in his 2023 State of the Union address.

Travelers United filed the case in Washington, D.C., whose laws require transparent upfront pricing.

The lawsuit notes that “in or around August 2023” Hyatt began advertising accurate pricing information to consumers looking to book a hotel room. On Hyatt.com today, in Skift’s tests, the site displays rates plus resort fees upfront on a traveler’s first search. Hyatt appears to have changed its site to more transparently present resort fees within the past month or so.

But the advocacy group wants Hyatt to pay for the time it didn’t disclose resort fees upfront.

“Since at least 2020, Hyatt has been systemically cheating consumers out of tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars each year by falsely advertising its hotel room rates,” the lawsuit claims (embedded below).

We asked Hyatt for a comment yesterday, but haven’t received a response.

Travel commentator Gary Leff blogged that “This is an industry-wide problem, not a Hyatt problem.”

Lauren Wolfe of Travelers United said yesterday the advocacy group plans to file similar lawsuits against other hotel groups.

Yet broadly, some consumers seem to take the the industry practice of drip pricing in stride. One study found that guests dropped their online ratings by only a small percentage after they faced “surprise” fees and booked anyway.

Airlines

American Airlines Sues Sabre for 11 Years of Legal Fees

1 year ago

Following a legal battle that lasted 11 years, American Airlines Group wants to force defendant Sabre Corp to pay its legal fees. 

U.S. law firm O’Melveny & Myers filed a lawsuit on behalf of American Airlines on Friday, saying the Texas-based global distribution system should pay American’s fees.

Those fees could amount to at least tens of millions of dollars. The 11-year litigation included two trials and an appeal. The filing did not identify an amount, but a O’Melveny partner previously said in court that the fees were “very, very substantial.”

American Airlines was awarded $1 in May as the winner of an antitrust trial against Sabre.

The dispute was over practices Sabre used to force airlines to use its services, and prevent carriers from reaching out to travel agents and business travelers more directly. American inherited the case when it acquired US Airways in 2013. US Airways had sued Sabre in 2011.

The result in May found that Sabre’s practices did not cause American Airlines any financial harm.

Friday’s filing shows that the two companies tried to resolve the fee dispute without involving the court but did not reach an agreement.