American Airlines and JetBlue announced a partnership in early 2012 that would see the two airlines share a single frequent flier program and a single reservation system. More than a year later, the actual program isn’t operational and the two sides have yet to figure out the details. And more importantly, it’s not clear how the American Airlines-JetBlue partnership would benefit passengers, who are still being forced to pay full price for their tickets even if they want to use only one of the carriers, or if they want to use both in one reservation.
As we all know, American Airlines is currently in the middle of a $4 billion lawsuit with their CEO and President over an allegedly illegal labor agreement. This lawsuit, which was first filed in January, involves American Airlines’ labor contracts with pilots, flight attendants, and ground service workers. The lawsuit alleges that the contracts were illegally extended to cover additional pilots and other crew members.
American Airlines and JetBlue Airways recently announced an agreement to merge, creating a business with nearly $12 billion in annual revenue and more than $5 billion in annual profit. The deal has been widely criticized by travelers who say it will lead to higher fares and fewer flights, while also making scheduling and reservations more complicated.. Read more about jetblue flight operated by american airlines and let us know what you think.
The American Airlines-JetBlue Partnership Is A Mess For Passengers
by Gary Leff on July 18, 2021
American Airlines and JetBlue have forged a ‘Northeastern Alliance’ covering flights in and out of Boston and New York. This is great in theory for American Airlines customers, giving them a big domestic network to fly while still earning miles and elite status. It’s great for JetBlue customers given American’s global reach. And it makes the two airlines competitive against United and Delta in selling to corporate accounts.
American Airlines customers, especially, should like flying JetBlue which offers more legroom, seat back entertainment, free wifi and a business class product (on routes where it’s offered) with relatively great seats, food, and friendly service.
However the actual partnership – as experienced by passengers – is quite broken. Several customers, based in both Boston and New York, have shared the problems they’ve faced and an American Airlines manager generously provided context.
- When you buy a JetBlue flight from American, American Airlines can’t assign seats and customers have shared stories of JetBlue agents who say they can’t, or who don’t want to do it, on American Airlines codeshares. (“Hang up, call back”)
- Customers expect elite benefits across partners but that doesn’t exist yet. I regularly get asked, and read in my social feed, about AAdvantage elite benefits when traveling on JetBlue. For instance they assume they’ll get better seats (that JetBlue doesn’t give their own members – the TrueBlue program is weak). Communication that this is still an earn-only relationship, without elite recognition or redemption opportunities so far, has not been clear.
- American is telling customers about one elite benefit that doesn’t exist. Reservation confirmations sent to customers booking codeshare flights have shown free checked baggage benefits for elite members even though those don’t apply on JetBlue. This is a DOT complaint waiting to happen. I mocked complaints about this six years ago but I was wrong, because American still hasn’t gotten their IT fixed. Push hard enough and, I’m told, if you have a confirmation saying you get free checked bags American Airlines will cover the fees you were forced to pay to JetBlue.
- JetBlue isn’t properly reporting miles to American in some cases. Customers who have added their AAdvantage account number, but that who have JetBlue accounts, have found flights crediting to TrueBlue instead. Getting this fixed is… a challenge.
The partnership was announced a year ago, and it’s been live for five months but it’s not yet ready for prime time.
Overall it should be good for customers, but competitors don’t like it. However the value proposition is entirely contingent on delivering a consistent customer experience. The two airlines aren’t close to that yet.
More From View from the Wing
Airlines have often struggled to cooperate on their offerings. While the price wars on the ground have helped keep fares down, the airlines have not always made things easy for their customers. For example, American Airlines has explained that the new “phone check-in” system that it is launching at the major airports is now targeted at long-haul international travelers. So if you’re flying from the US to Europe, you’ll have to chose between American’s phone check-in, or JetBlue’s phone check-in across to London.. Read more about what does jetblue operated by american airlines mean and let us know what you think.
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