American Airlines and JetBlue are two airliners who have experienced the financial hardships caused by the coronavirus and global drop-off in travel.
These companies recently announced a partnership designed to help both companies emerge from their current crisis as well as simplify travel for millions of customers.
This is happening just a few months after American inked a similar partnership with Alaska Airlines.
Here’s what you need to know:
American and JetBlue are sharing routes.
The airlines have arranged a code-sharing agreement, which basically means that when you book at one airline, you have access to the flights and destinations of the other.
That opens up 60 new American routes for JetBlue customers, and 130 new JetBlue routes for American customers, according to a joint statement. Exact routes haven’t yet been announced.
Bonus: You don’t have to check in twice, and baggage will automatically make the transition between airlines.
But don’t expect the partnership to save you any money.
We had a hard time finding evidence of the route-sharing when booking similar flights on both websites — no shared arrival times, no uniform prices, not even the same connections were listed for the many different flights we searched.
In most cases, similar flights were cheaper (by a lot) on JetBlue, although there were some cases where American had the edge.
That said, Airfarewatchdog reported that onboard food is more expensive on JetBlue, so you could save some in-flight dollars if you end up on an American flight.
Our advice? Just book with your preferred carrier and don’t try to game the system. There’s no system to be gamed here.
The partnership exists so both airlines can increase services while downsizing.
Both JetBlue and American Airlines are planning to expand their offerings out of the Northeast (particularly New York City and Boston) while downsizing.
American Airlines is planning to reduce 15-20% of their planes, and has reduced their staff by nearly 40,000 via voluntary retirement — but more layoffs are probably coming this fall. Still, the partnership frees them up to start a bunch of new international routes out of JFK.
JetBlue has seen more than 60% of their crew take voluntary leave, with others opting for early retirement; meanwhile, they’re expanding the number of places they’re flying direct from JFK (and their other New York-area airports).
You’ll accumulate miles regardless of which airline you fly.
Let me be more specific. If you are an AAdvantage member and you book a flight through American Airlines that uses a JetBlue leg, you’ll get credit for your entire flight — not just the miles American Airlines flew.
And the reverse is true for JetBlue TrueBlue members.
So far, though, each airline’s top-tier members don’t get special perks on the other’s flights — but both JetBlue and American hinted that would change soon.