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American Airlines, Orbitz settle legal dispute

Updated: April 1, 2013 11:31AM



FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines says it has settled lawsuits with Chicago-based Orbitz over the online travel agency’s display of information about American flights and fares.

The companies announced their settlement Monday. They did not disclose terms, and they declined to comment beyond a brief press release.

The settlement with Orbitz faces review by the federal judge overseeing the bankruptcy reorganization of American and its parent, AMR Corp.

American has been fighting with Orbitz Worldwide Inc. and other companies that distribute information to travel agents. American says it can better tailor offers to customers if it provides flight and price information directly to travel agents.

Distribution companies claim that American wants to push them aside and reduce competition for selling airline travel.

As the dispute escalated in 2011, American flights disappeared briefly from listings on Orbitz and Expedia Inc.

American had filed suit in federal district court in Fort Worth, Texas, accusing Orbitz and its largest shareholder, Travelport Ltd., of violating antitrust laws. In November 2011, a judge dismissed some of American’s claims but allowed the lawsuit to go ahead.

American settled with Travelport last month, allowing Travelport subsidiaries to sell American Airlines upgrades such as premium seating in economy class.

Last year American said it received an undisclosed amount of cash to settle with another distribution company, Sabre Holdings Corp., after a jury trial began in Texas state court.

In midday trading Orbitz shares fell 18 cents, or 3.2 percent, to $5.53. Over-the-counter shares of AMR, which has announced plans to merge with US Airways Group Inc., dropped 8 cents, or 2 percent, to $4.07.



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