The partnership allows each airline to sell seats on the other’s flights and share frequent-flier benefits.

By Cailey Rizzo
July 16, 2020
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JetBlue and American Airlines are teaming up in a collaboration that will benefit travelers in the Northeast and help both airlines recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The partnership, announced in a press release Thursday, will allow each airline to sell seats on the other’s flights and share frequent-flier benefits. It will particularly benefit passengers by increasing international connectivity in New York and Boston.

“Pairing JetBlue’s domestic network with American’s international route map creates a new competitive choice in the Northeast, where customers are longing for an alternative to the dominant network carriers,” President and Chief Operating Officer of JetBlue, Joanna Geraghty, said in a statement. “This partnership with American is the next step in our plan to accelerate our coronavirus recovery, get our crewmembers and our aircraft flying again, and fuel JetBlue’s growth into the future.”

Passengers will be able to book a single ticket with either airline, only checking in once and enjoying a seamless connection between flights. The new partnership will also increase the flight options American is able to offer. By allowing JetBlue to operate domestic flights, American can focus on adding new long-haul markets in Europe, Africa, India, and South America.

The partnership comes while all airlines are grappling with the effects of decreased travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many are expected to announce job cuts in October, when federal funding for employee pay runs out.

While partnerships like this are very common in international markets, it is much more uncommon for two airlines operating in the same domestic market to partner up. But it is not unheard of. American has a similar partnership with Alaska Air on the West Coast that was announced earlier this year before the coronavirus had struck the U.S.

JetBlue will not be joining the Oneworld alliance, which includes American and 12 other major international airlines like British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas. However, the airline still plans to independently launch and operate its transatlantic service to London in 2021.

Implementation of the partnership is contingent upon government review.