Consider me shocked! American Airlines just announced a new codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways and revealed possible plans to fly to Doha.
American Airlines….ohhh, American Airlines.
It’s not a secret, American Airlines has been on the ‘struggle bus’ for a minute. Extremely delayed flights are the norm for the airline and they’ve had labor disputes that have resulted in mechanics being arrested for allegedly sabotaging flights. Unfortunately, this has also resulted in the airline recently being named United States’ worst airline.
American Airlines Eats Their Own Words
A few years ago, the “Big US3” (American, Delta, and United) complained to the US government that the “BIG ME3” (Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar) shouldn’t be able to fly to the U.S..
They then argued that the ME3 shouldn’t be able to fly routes between the U.S. and Europe, because of subsidies they had received from their governments (note: each U.S. carrier receives subsidies from the US government too, but that’s a blog for a different day).
Finally, in mid-2017, American Airlines wanted to prove their point about the Gulf carriers being illegally subsidized so they cut their codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways.
WHAT IS A CODESHARE?
Both American Airlines and Qatar Airways are members of the Oneworld Alliance, which means that loyalty program members can earn and redeem miles across either airline and receive certain benefits. In other words, you can fly on American Airlines’ planes and credit those miles to Qatar (or vice versa). However, a codeshare goes a little bit deeper.
With a codeshare agreement, two airlines place “codes” on one another’s flights and, essentially, split the revenue. The idea is that airlines have an incentive to promote these flights on partners in a way that they wouldn’t otherwise have an incentive to do so.
Thus, being part of the same alliance doesn’t mean there will be a codeshare agreement also.
SMEAR CAMPAIGN…DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE!
In May 2019 the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies (which is funded by American Airlines) uploaded the following ad to YouTube:
This video is interesting because it makes me wonder…what has changed in the past EIGHT MONTHS? Is Qatar Airways no longer trade cheating? Is the US airline industry no longer at risk? Are 1.2 million jobs no longer at risk? Is Qatar Airways no longer getting illegal subsidies? And all of that has changed in 8 months?
Honestly, this move isn’t shocking at all. American Airlines is grasping at straws to stay relevant.
- AA waged a smear campaign against the ME3…and lost!
- AA severed their partnership with Alaska Airlines…that didn’t turn out well! In fact, AA came crawling back only a few months later.
- AA management was asleep at the wheel and Delta stole an AA partner right from below their nose.
- AA is the worst airline in the USA.
Over the past few years, AA has jumped on the bandwagon of everything Delta has done but they just realized that Delta is not their friend. Although, AA didn’t need any partners over the last few years (as is evident in their decisions to sever ties), they have now come crawling back to each and everyone and their decisions appear reactionary.
Regardless, I congratule AA management for having the humility to recognize their mistake(s), and being willing to do what’s in the best interest of the airline.
Let’s file this in the ‘developing folder’ as I trust we have not heard the last of this.
What do you think about AA’s about-face? What do you think about Qatars decision to work with AA?