There has been some refreshingly simple and entertaining summaries on the supply chain battle initiated by AA and Sabre Holdings.
Tim Smith put it brilliantly in his article http://www.wiglafjournal.com/pricing/2011/02/american-airlines-vs-sabre-holdings-destruction-or-creation-of-airline-traveler-value/ noting " travelers need intermediaries that go beyond the role of clerks that ring-up transactions, rather travelers need intermediaries that take on the mantel of salesman and both explain the various offers and options to guide our decisions towards greater satisfaction."
In absence of their capability to do so, the airline has invested in technologies to 'listen' to their customers directly and tailor transparency, choice, value and service accordingly. As a technology provider enabling airlines to have hundreds of millions of sales conversations worldwide in this manner. We contend that the intermediary channel could benefit from the direct channel efficiencies and customer listening and we all could be profitable....not at the expense of eachother!
Another entertaining summary: Airlines battle with travel websites for control of ticket sales: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/fast_track/9369897.stm
Ornagh Hoban, VP Strategy, Datalex