AA Alleges Sabre-Led Boycott

American Airlines on Wednesday amended its antitrust complaint against Sabre to include a new claim: that the global distribution provider "organized an unlawful group boycott against American."

However, details of American's latest allegation, revealed in a court document filed Wednesday in Tarrant County, Texas, largely are covered up in the black ink of redaction. As such, AA does not reveal critical details about who participated in the alleged boycott. Sabre, meanwhile, denied the allegations and countered with one of its own: "This is yet another example of American Airlines distorting the facts and trying to use the courts to negotiate a new contract," a spokeswoman commented.

AA references boycotting throughout the 44-page filing. In one mention, AA noted that "Sabre coordinated an agreement among… " after which several lines are awash in black ink--just as it was about to get good.

At another point, AA refers to Sabre's participation in "secret collusive boycott agreements." Not much more there.

The court document continues: "Sabre has also organized, monitored, and policed a group boycott in which [REDACTED] agreed to--and did--'book away' from American." The boycott was successful, AA claimed, considering the unnamed co-conspirator(s) booked other carriers instead.

AA noted the alleged boycotting actions, along with Sabre's move earlier this year to bias American fares in search results, cost the carrier "ticket sales in amounts which are as yet impossible to quantify."

Other allegations made by American largely rehash claims made throughout the antitrust proceeding: Sabre biased fares, blocked direct connect innovation, threatened to make American "go dark" in the GDS by canceling an underlying participating carrier agreement and raised booking fees.

American questioned the economic wisdom of such actions, which it claimed hurt both parties, and therefore suggested monopolistic behavior on Sabre's part.