August 6th, 2008

Keep Walking

Pissing contest ruins Kayak and American Airlines

Kayak was my favourite airfare consolidation site (a place where you can find low fares on multiple variables on multiple airlines) -- sadly, this week, I got an e-mail from American Airlines which read:
From: American Airlines []
Sent: 04 August 2008 21:02
Subject: American Airlines Ends Relationship With Kayak

Dear Charles Antonelli,

As a valued customer who has booked an American Airlines ticket through or 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, Tickets already purchased remain valid for customers traveling on American.

At American Airlines, we are committed to saving you time and money by making your one-stop shop for finding the best fares. In addition to our Lowest Fare Guarantee, you have the ability to search for the lowest available price for three days before and three days after your original departure and return dates. So, when booking your next trip, be sure to visit

And, as a special incentive, if you book your next flight on and travel by December 31, 2008, you'll receive 1,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles.

Thanks for choosing American Airlines. We look forward to seeing you on board soon.

On the Kayak site, in their blog, it reads:
This morning, 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 and We remain committed to providing a comprehensive and objective display to our users.

Therefore, and 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.

As American Airlines is (er, well, was) my preferred airline, it really hurts me not to be able to compare fares side-by-side on the website I've come to love -- especially their agents (e-mailing bots that watch specific fares for you).

Although I am exempt from American's new checked baggage fees, there's all sorts of talk I'm hearing about them raising the cost of flights and upgrades using miles, serious reductions in service levels, reductions in available flights, reductions in business and first class seating -- plus to top it all off, fees and add-ons that make it virtually impossible to determine the actual cost of a ticket until you're just about to commit your purchase! Sort of like how Air Canada used to advertise their fares without taxes and fees until the last screen!, except now it's a shock once you're at the airport to check in, or on the plane wanting a glass of water. Rumour control says American Airlines is adding pay toilets in 2009!!

While at the same time, while at the same time the article "Emirate's Super-Luxe Airbus A380 Makes Flying Fun Again." appeared in Wired! magazine!

Maybe it's time to cash in on those frequent flyer miles (while they still have value!) Until then, my primary airfare consolidation site is now Airfare Watchdog:

Happy flying!