Kayak is not just a neat way to skim and surf the waters but is the name chosen by one of the very first aggregators, or on-line comparison travel-shopping sites. Kayak.com, alas, may be about to be be deprived of its direct display of content - fares and availability - by American Airlines after a dispute that seems to centre on Kayak's relationship with Orbitz. Speculation about the American/Kayak relationship took up a lot of buzz and zubb on the online communities the other day. Kayak tends to generate its American information not directly from American but from Orbitz. Kayak spokesworman Kellie Pelletier says she hopes that American and Kayak, which are in last-ditch negotiations, will reach a deal by August 1 or August 2, and that the situation remains in flux.
Kayak's chief executive officer, Steve Hafner (shown right, from the kayak.com website) says that, "AA recently informed us that we could no longer display their fares directly unless we suppressed search results from other websites (e.g. Orbitz, Cheaptickets). We simply cannot allow travel providers to compromise the comprehensiveness or objectivity of Kayak's results. Other folks have asked us to in the past, and we've always said no. Choice on what and where to buy is central to Kayak's value proposition." The beat.com's Jay Campbell says that American once took all of its fares off of Expedia but came back a few weeks later, so he's betting that American's pullout is "a bargaining strategy."