Sabre sues Hawaiian Airlines over GDS surcharge: Travel Weekly

Sabre has sued Hawaiian Airlines, contending that the carrier’s GDS surcharge is a breach of contract. 

Earlier this year, Hawaiian implemented a GDS surcharge of $7 per segment.

Sabre has also accused Hawaiian of violating their contract through its decision to withhold interisland flights and fares from the GDS. Those  flights now must be booked on the Hawaiian Airlines website, via the carrier’s NDC-enabled direct-connect solution called HA Connect, or via Hawaiian-approved NDC-enabled aggregators (Sabre identified 14 options). 

“Hawaiian’s breaches have had ripple effects throughout the travel distribution ecosystem; they have increased costs to Sabre subscribers, who must now book interisland flights through a less efficient alternative to Sabre and, for all other Hawaiian flights, either pay the $7 per segment surcharge or book through a less efficient alternative to Sabre,” reads the Aug. 30 complaint, which Sabre filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. 

Sabre, which said it has more 425,000 travel advisor subscribers, went on to say that Hawaiian’s implementation of the surcharge and its withholding of interisland content has cost it bookings. Specifics of that allegation are redacted in the published lawsuit, along with substantial portions of the remainder of the complaint.

In a statement, Hawaiian said that it will vigorously fight Sabre’s allegations.

“We believe Sabre’s claims to be baseless, and that we are acting well within our contractual rights as we implement a new distribution strategy replacing dated technology with the modern NDC standard,” the carrier said. 

In a June interview with Travel Weekly, Hawaiian CEO Peter Ingram said the GDS surcharge was the best way to sway travel agencies to book in NDC channels. 

“We don’t want to collect the surcharge. We would like people to transition to the channels where there isn’t a surcharge,” he said. 

Sabre is accusing Hawaiian of two counts of breach of contract and two counts of breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Sabre has asked for an award of damages and court costs and has requested a jury trial.

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