JetBlue slams “frivolous” lawsuit over alleged blocking of OTAs

New York, USA - April 23, 2012: Airbus A320 JetBlue tailfin with Mosaic design on John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, NY on April 23, 2012. JetBlue aircraft features one of several tail designs. This mosaic pattern was created in 2005 and inspired the name for the TrueBlue Mosaic program - the frequent flyer program.

JetBlue has snapped back at an online travel company for pursuing “frivolous” legal action against the airline over claims it has hoodwinked consumers by blocking travel aggregators from showing its fares.

Fareportal Holdings Inc, the parent company of CheapOair and OneTravel, filed an antitrust lawsuit against the low-cost airline for unspecified damages in the federal court in Brooklyn, according to Reuters.

The OTA group claimed that JetBlue ended its nearly 20-year relationship with the company after abandoning talks unexpectedly.

It said the airline’s refusal to allow it to display fares alongside its competitors would prevent comparison shopping and allow JetBlue to raise its prices on key routes including New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

Fareportal also claims JetBlue is still allowing Expedia and Priceline to show its fares, but intends to stop “in the near future”.

However, JetBlue said it was common industry practice for airlines to choose where to sell their products.

“The allegations in the complaint filed by Fareportal are frivolous and wholly without merit,” the airline said in a statement to Travel Weekly.

“We are currently one of several major airlines not selling via Fareportal’s platforms.

“JetBlue guarantees that customers will always find the lowest JetBlue fare on and currently over 10 aggregators and OTA sites offer customers the ability to compare JetBlue fares.”

Fareportal is also claiming that JetBlue is using COVID-relief handouts to take consumers for a “ride”.

It said in its complaint that the airline has received more than $2.4 billion in taxpayer support and treasury loans, and is allegedly using the money to cushion it against losing money by withholding prices from travel agents.

Featured image source: iStock/rypson

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