American Airlines & JetBlue Announce Partnership – WHAT? + Déjà Vu

by Adam

American Airlines and JetBlue shocked everyone this morning in announcing a strategic partnership.  The alliance focuses on the Northeast and the airlines say it will accelerate their recovery from the pandemic. The partnership proposes codeshare and loyalty benefits in New York and Boston. Essentially, American is being forced to reckon with completely ditching JFK over the last few years, and now their need for domestic feed in order to compete once again.

Specifics:

  • New and expanded routes: American will launch international service from New York (JFK) to Tel Aviv (TLV) and to Athens (ATH) and JFK to Rio De Janeiro (GIG) will return as a daily seasonal route in winter 2021, in addition to continuing to serve London (LHR) and Madrid (MAD). JetBlue will grow in greater New York City, adding flights at LaGuardia (LGA) and Newark (EWR), while also increasing its presence at JFK for seamless connections to American’s expanded international network including Mint® service to Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO). American has not added a long haul route from JFK in four years – it took JetBlue to get them to compete on two of JFK’s most popular international routes – Athens and Tel Aviv.  Fun fact, JetBlue previously had a codeshare with El Al on Tel Aviv routes from JFK…which began after American and El Al ended their codeshare.  The airlines note that American plans on adding flights from JFK to Africa, Europe, India, and South America, once the pandemic ends.
  • More choice and loyalty benefits: Through their integrated networks, JetBlue and American will operate reciprocal codeshare flights. JetBlue will gain connectivity to more U.S. destinations, a broad global network and an improved frequent flyer proposition, while American will complement JetBlue’s improved and expanded service with new international routes. JetBlue and American loyalty members will also enjoy new benefits while the carriers are exploring additional premium experiences for customers. Note that, we have no further details here with regards to mileage earning and redemption and what the new benefits are. Does this only cover codeshare flights booked with the airline’s own code or does it apply to the whole network or perhaps NYC and BOS flights only? Can we redeem AAdvantage miles for MINT?

Codeshare

JetBlue and American will begin a new codeshare relationship, giving customers seamless access to more destinations, including international service. The codeshare will introduce JetBlue customers to more than 60 new routes operated by American and will introduce American’s customers to more than 130 new routes operated by JetBlue. Codesharing allows customers to book a single itinerary combining flights from both airlines.

Transcon

JetBlue and American will offer customers more options on Transcon service from New York to the West Coast. American’s  three-class service on the Airbus A321T will join JetBlue with its Mint premium experience.

JetBlue is not joining oneworld® or the AA/IAG Atlantic Joint Business Agreement and will continue with plans to independently launch and operate transatlantic flights to London in 2021.

American Airlines JetBlue Partnership Infographic

Déjà vu

This exact scenario has been tried before, but ended after the US Airways merger. You must check out this post from April 2010, yes a decade ago.

American Airlines and JetBlue Airways said they have formed a partnership to offer passengers connections to flights in and out of New York and Boston. JetBlue customers will be able to connect on flights to 12 of American’s international destinations from JFK and Boston. American customers can book nonstop JetBlue flights from JFK and Boston to 18 domestic spots that American doesn’t serve from those cities. The deal will feed new passengers into both carriers’ networks by allowing them to book both legs of their flight at the same time.

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