Wednesday, August 06, 2008

New comments from Kayak - it was us who pulled the plug, not them

Our story yesterday about Kayak and it's ongoing row with American Airlines indicated how irritated the meta search engine has become with the carrier and its axing of live feeds.

A statement we received from Kayak admitted that its results were "a little less comprehensive" following AA's decision to cut ties with the meta search engine.

But as it stands today the row is likely to escalate further after Kayak got in touch again last night to effectively add a Molotov Cocktail to an already fiery corporate riot.

A spokeswoman told us: is disappointed that American Airlines has chosen to misrepresent to loyal users that they terminated their relationship with

The truth is that terminated the relationship because we refused to concede to AA’s demand to not display AA fares available through online travel agencies alongside those from became aware of AA’s misstatement after our user feedback system started receiving supportive emails from consumers disappointed with AA’s actions, a number of whom forwarded us the inaccurate email AA sent out last night.

We hope that AA will not only agree to again allow consumers to compare AA fares on and, but will refrain from making false statements.
So now it's a matter not only of how fares are represented, but who is telling the truth - apparently.

One suspects that Kayak chief executive Steve Hafner - who is well known for not mixing his words - had a slightly terser series of sentences, but the corp comms people thought better of releasing them into the ether.

NB: See Norm Rose's anaylsis of the Kayak-AA situation.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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Richard Hartigan said...

Crikey - it's like Vorderman vs. Channel 4 all over again!

Travolution Blogger said...

Richard: indeed it is.

for our US readers, Richard refers to a spat between the producers of a famous UK quiz show and one of its star presenters.

Full story on the BBC website.

Mark said...

In wider terms, do you think that other airlines will take a similar line?

Travolution Blogger said...

Mark: there are some who think this move could set a precedent for other airlines to follow. not convinced.

Our analysis from last week showed how many visits and, more importantly, conversions AA makes from kayak traffic.

so AA has clearly weighed up whether losing that traffic is offset by the fees it is paying to both OTAs and kayak is worth the risk or not.

airlines are clearly looking at their distribution costs, in these troubled times, and streamlining.

but as someone said to me recently. meta search should be seen as a marketing cost, more of a cost-of-sale.

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