American/Sabre Divide Widens

American Airlines has charged that Sabre Holdings tried to sell it personal—and confidential—information about passengers who flew on competing airlines. "I can confirm to you that we stand by our statements," says American Airlines spokesman Michael Sperling in reference to earlier published accounts of the affair. The passenger information allegedly pedaled by Sabre included names, mailing addresses, frequent flyer miles, e-mail addresses and information on where the customers flew, according to AA. American Airlines, according to Sperling, decided to go public about Sabre's attempted sale because it is one of the sticking points in getting a deal done between the two companies. Sabre and American Airlines are currently negotiating on an updated long-term deal, although AA content continues to appear on Sabre's GDS products. Sabre, for its part, denied that the allegations, saying through a statement forwarded to Travel Agent: "American Airlines (has) claimed or implied that Sabre Holdings does not protect customer data, and in fact has offered to sell this data. Nothing could be further from the truth. At Sabre, our top priority is protecting the confidentiality of travel agency and traveler data. We have a long history of never betraying that trust. We would never, under any circumstances sell personal or specific passenger name data nor have we ever sold personal or specific passenger name data. Agents, corporations and suppliers have trusted us with their data for decades and under no circumstances whatsoever is any personally identifiable information that has been entrusted to us sold, knowingly disclosed or otherwise made available to any third party that is not involved in servicing or fulfilling travel on behalf of the customer." Sabre Holdings also said that a provision of its contract with AA prohibits the sale of passenger data.

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