The New York Times reports:
American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia Airlines said Thursday that they had signed a joint business agreement for flights between the United States and Europe.
The airlines said they planned to apply for antitrust approval from the United States Department of Transportation and would notify European Union authorities. The step comes a dozen years after American and British Airways first tried to join their operations in a network stretching around the world.
I’m guessing most of us that are even slightly familiar with the AAdvantage program but not fully hooked had the same reaction — Yay, we can finally burn our AA miles for transatlantic travel on BA! Living in TPA we only have one airline flying longhaul from here, and that’s BA to LGW. I can’t tell you how much I’d love to leave my home airport and sit in a nice first suite instead of 11C on Ted.
Anyway, it’s important to recognize that this won’t be instant, and might even take a couple of years. That being said, is this really something to look forward to as a whole? Let’s face it, AAdvantage is the most rewarding program of the three airlines, and I can see some standardization happening, whereby they’ll try to level out the FF programs after a while, as far as I can tell. After all, they want to create some consistency.
For the Executive Platinums with AA that are currently earning systemwide upgrades (eVIP’s), that’s not really a good thing. I wouldn’t be surprised if over time we see AA reducing benefits to get more in line with the other carriers, but of course that’s me being highly speculative.
So as of now there’s very little we know, but I definitely have some excitement and at the same time an ounce of fear about what this could mean for AA’s FF program.