American Airlines Severs Nose. Declares Self "Cold Free"!

Missed this news Friday, and so will react now to a note from American Airlines that it has decided to no longer feed its fares through aggregators Kayak and Sidestep. Here is message:

As a valued customer who has booked an American Airlines ticket through Kayak.com or Sidestep.com over the past year, we would like to inform you that American Airlines fares are no longer being displayed on these sites. You may still find our content through many other meta-search engines for purchase through our award-winning web site, AA.com. Tickets already purchased remain valid for customers traveling on American.

That’s nasty news for those two (excellent) services, and somewhat baffling for AA. After all, what does it care so long as air travel gets sold? Granted, AA would like to sell at higher prices, and aggregators flatten the pricing market, which has to hurt. But the days of being able to break rank are over, aren’t they?

Strikes me as sort of like having a cold, and then cutting off your nose as remedy. Sure, you could declare yourself cold free, but the side effects are gonna be nasty.

Here is Kayak shaking its head at AA’s nutty behavior:

This morning, Kayak.com became a bit less comprehensive as fares from American Airlines are no longer available on our website. American asked us to suppress search results from online travel agency partners as a condition to displaying their fares on Kayak.com and SideStep.com. We remain committed to providing a comprehensive and objective display to our users.

Therefore, Kayak.com and SideStep.com are displaying schedules only (not prices) for American Airlines flights. Consumers are still able to compare AA itineraries along with those from hundreds of leading airlines, and if they wish to find the price or purchase an AA ticket, they can still do so by clicking on the “Info” link and we’ll send them into the Orbitz booking path. We think this is a step backwards for consumers and we hope American changes its mind.

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