American Airlines and JetBlue have announced a very interesting partnership this morning. For over a decade, I flew American Airlines every week. During those times, there were always two weak areas in their coverage. The northeast and northwest parts of the country were lacking great connectivity. American Airlines solved the northwest issue by forming a much tighter partnership with Alaska Airlines earlier this year. Side note: it’s been such a crazy few months I thought this happened last year…..
Now, American has worked to shore up their lack of connections in the northeast by announcing a new partnership with JetBlue. While we don’t have all the details yet, we do have some pretty major pieces.
American Airlines/JetBlue Strategic Partnership
One of the biggest pieces of the new partnership replicates what American did with Alaska a few months ago. They’ll be launching some exciting international routes from New York (JFK):
- Tel Aviv (TLV)
- Athens (ATH)
- Rio de Janeiro (GIG)
Athens and Rio are seasonal routes. US Airways used to fly Philadelphia-Athens, but I don’t see that route on their schedule any longer. I’m glad to see that service come back to the northeast. Tel Aviv is an interesting new route and could prove lucrative for AA depending on what happens with El Al.
Both airlines will be codesharing as well, which is likely to be good news for travelers in the region. They’ll codeshare on almost 200 flights, including on premium transcontinental flights that they now compete on between New York and California.
Finally, there will be some sort of loyalty partnership, with members in both programs enjoying benefits in the other airline’s loyalty program. Those details haven’t been released yet. And, I imagine loyalty programs will look very different in the months to come. But, reciprocity is always a good thing for customers.
The Final Two Pennies
A partnership between American Airlines and JetBlue makes a ton of sense. American Airlines has been retreating from the New York market for quite some time. This gives them a strong foothold in the market for domestic traffic, something they’re sorely lacking. And, JetBlue finally gets more international reach for their connecting passenger. Personally, I’m even more bummed that JetBlue no longer serves my home airport of Washington-Dulles. Connecting to JFK for international travel would be a home run for our family.
I’ll be interested to see how this partnership develops. There are definitely bad codeshare relationships. American Airlines had exactly that with Alaska Airlines years ago that just didn’t function properly. The pricing was all messed up for connecting flights on the West coast and not all flight options were available. Let’s hope that’s not the case here. Either way, more international flying will be a big plus for frequent travelers as the world gets moving again, whenever that is.
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