American and Delta Make Nice, Restore Interline Agreement

Jan 24, 2018

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American Airlines and Delta Air Lines are restoring their interline agreement as of Wednesday, a move that establishes the most basic level of cooperation between the nation’s two largest carriers.

An interline agreement essentially allows for the carriers to re-accommodate passengers who were affected by irregular operations, such as weather delays or cancellations. The interline agreement, although not near the level of a codeshare, allows each airline to work together for a better passenger experience when it’s needed. It allows the carriers to rebook passengers, as well as allowing passengers to check their baggage through to their final destination if changing airlines.

American and Delta discontinued their interline agreement in 2015. At the time, Delta noted that its on-time operations were so good that it didn’t need to maintain an interline agreement in order to have passengers fly with American. Delta attributed the breakup to the fact that AA rebooked too many passengers with Delta. However, since then, Delta’s seen some major system meltdowns, such as its systemwide domestic ground stop and the most recent power outage at its Atlanta (ATL) hub. This reestablished interline agreement makes sense.

As reported by @XJonNYC, a memo detailed that American will still prioritize re-booking passengers with other Oneworld partners or with joint business carriers. After it’s exhausted options with its alliance and joint venture partners, it will then turn to other airlines such as Delta with this new interline agreement.

This is good news for passengers, albeit fairly minor. Especially at smaller airports where there are fewer frequencies, passengers traveling with American or Delta now have more options because of the rekindling of this partnership.

Featured image by Wikimedia Commons.

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