We all learned in August that American Express and HRG separately agreed "in principle" to explore American Airlines' direct connect, but further details have been elusive. Comments made during AMR's earnings conference call on Wednesday weren't exactly revealing, but chief commercial officer Virasb Vahidi provided an update of sorts.
With Priceline already processing bookings through the direct connect, Vahidi said AA now is "trying to tailor" the offering "with the other agencies that have signed up for the same initiative." Those agencies "have a different structure" than Priceline, Vahidi added.
And that's about all. Not much more to report, especially since the two large TMCs haven't yet provided any additional information.
HRG in August shared tentative plans to access AA content through the direct connect "using its own technology, either directly or via a global distribution system application programming interface." American Express also announced plans to explore a link to AA's direct connect "through aggregation technology ... provided by one or more global distribution systems."
Meanwhile, remember those boycott allegations AA hurled at Sabre last month
? AMR CFO Bella Goren on Wednesday said, "While we will work through the legal process to get to all of the facts and sort out the impact, we believe that bringing Sabre's actions to light has helped reverse that impact." Still no details on boycott participants.
While Goren claimed the boycott had been "impacting our revenue performance," the extent of revenue loss remains unclear.
Asked by one analyst how much "was left on the table because you had part of the distribution complex working against you," CEO Gerard Arpey replied, "The fact that we highlighted it, and highlighted it in the manner that we did, is an indication of how we feel about the impact, and the fact that we are involved in a lot of litigation right now really limits what we can say."