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 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.