Airberlin & JetBlue Are Introducing A New Partnership

While airberlin is a member of the oneworld alliance, they don’t have very close relationships with the individual member airlines beyond that. For example, American, British Airways, Finnair, and Iberia have a transatlantic joint venture, which airberlin is excluded from.

oneworld-transatlantic-joint-venture

Earlier this year American even cut their codeshare agreement with airberlin. While we don’t officially know why this happened, I know that airberlin has lousy yields and they’re in a bad financial situation, so there’s a chance it wasn’t worth American’s time anymore, and that the whole situation was just too messy.

Or maybe there’s more to it. Keep in mind that airberlin is partly owned by Etihad, and is part of the Etihad Airways Partners “alliance.” So it’s possible American cutting codeshare ties with airberlin was intended to send a message to Etihad (after all, as of next year they’re cutting codeshare ties with both Etihad and Qatar).

Given that American isn’t showing airberlin much love, it looks like airberlin is coming up with a new strategy for their flights to the US. JetBlue and airberlin have announced a new partnership for flights as of September 12, 2017. While we don’t have the full details yet, at a minimum the airlines will have an interline agreement, allowing passengers to check bags through to their final destination, book both airlines on one ticket, etc. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s expanded to a codeshare agreement at some point.

This partnership will include airberlin’s flights between Germany and US gateways, and JetBlue’s flights to the following 31 destinations:

From New York (JFK): Bermuda, Bridgetown, Boston, Buffalo, Charleston, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Portland, Rochester, Fort Myers, Santo Domingo, San Francisco, San Juan, Santiago, Syracuse, Jacksonville, Raleigh/Durham, Tampa

From Boston (BOS): Atlanta, Buffalo, Baltimore, Washington (National), Denver, Newark, Fort Lauderdale, New York (JFK), Los Angeles, New York (La Guardia), Orlando, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham, San Francisco

From Orlando (MCO): Boston, Washington (National), Newark, White Plains, New York (JFK), New York (La Guardia)

I’m not sure how many airberlin passengers intend to fly from Germany to Boston via Orlando, but I suppose it’s a nice option to have. 😉

Here’s what airberlin’s chief commercial officer had to say about the new partnership:

“We are delighted that we have a new, strong partner at our side with JetBlue, in the important growth market in the USA. This is only the beginning of our co-operation. Together, we are working to extend our partnership in the coming months.”

The two airlines plan to offer reciprocal frequent flyer benefits as well, though I suspect that will be limited to reciprocal points earning. As much as I love how many airlines JetBlue partners with, they don’t offer much in the way of reciprocal points redemptions.

Given that American doesn’t seem terribly interested, it’s nice to see that they’ve found another US airline they can partner with. JetBlue is fantastic about working with foreign carriers, and they leave politics out of things, as they work with both Emirates and Etihad in a mutually beneficial way.

As I wrote about last week, I think the “big three” global alliances are slowly dying (or at a minimum, have seen their best days), and this is the perfect example of that. Airberlin belongs to oneworld, Etihad Airways Partners, and now is forming yet another partnership outside of both of those alliances, since American doesn’t seem to want to cooperate with them.

What do you make of the new partnership between airberlin and JetBlue?

Comments

  1. It sounds like this partnership means we’ll get an indirect way to book JB flights and credit them to OneWorld airlines, which I’m very excited about. Wouldn’t mind flying Mint from JFK-LAX and earning 1.5x American EQMs!

  2. LY signed a code share agreement with B4 as well, after the relationship with AA went south. I wonder if we’ll see AB starting a BOS route.

  3. Hey Ben, are you sure that the airlines are going to codeshare? I’m not a German speaker,but when googling this, most sources seem to speak of an interline agreement rather than a codeshare agreement? (e.g. here https://reisetopia.de/airberlin-jetblue/ or here http://www.airliners.de/air-berlin-us-partner-jetblue/42060) I’ve used Google Translate and it seems like codeshares are not part of the deal, yet, but might be in the future. As you’re fluent in German, you might know better than me, but I’m a little confused?

  4. @ Benny J — You’re absolutely right, thanks for the correction. I read too much into this. Updated the post to make it more accurate.

  5. “I think the “big three” global alliances are slowly dying (or at a minimum, have seen their best days)”

    It’s only dying from the eyes of management and the bean counters, who actually tells you straight in the eye that AA and JL are absolute equals from a pax perspective, when they’re anything but.

    From a pax perspective, these random patchwork of bespoke code-share agreements are rarely seamless (EK-QF being the single most prominent one that is actually well integrated). Additionally, the only way to get benefits and/or miles would be forced to the code-share variant of the flight, easily FAR above their natively coded ones. Those price-differentials on AA-operated-by-CX are mind bogling

    Personally the best benefits of alliance is accessing priority ground services and lounge access while still traveling in coach, no questions asked whatsoever. Lots of these nascent partnerships don’t have full reciprocal FF.

  6. I think JetBlue jumps into bed with almost everyone. Remember, not a long time ago with FI (Icelandair) … although quite an attractive date for all the others!

    I think the reason why AA withdrew from their codeshare agreement has more to do with the AA/BA/IB/AY joint venture. If you are in a JV, it is pure cash drain if you send pax on non-JV codeshare flights. So basically, the only two options were to integrate AB into the JV or to drop them. Then again, AB is in something similar to a JV with EY. So inculding them would basically mean the had to include EY … not an option for AA, but I guess also BA/AA was not particularly attracted, give QR is their largest shareholder … so dropping AB was just the easiest and least risky option for the other JV members.

  7. Somewhat related question, do you think this impacts JetBlue’s partnership with TAP? Will they ever earn reciprocal miles/benefits?

  8. Well that means less Intercontinental flights to the West Coast for example TXL – LAX & perhaps TXL – SFO. Freeing up Airberlins capacity to feed Jetblue’s Hub in Boston from Berlin – Tegel & opening New direkt connections TXL to Las Vegas, or Intercontinental destinations!

  9. BA and AB have plenty of codeshare flights, so I don’t think AA’s lack of cooperation is anything to do with the JV.

  10. Jet blue code share flights are useless. If you want to go from Washington to Frankfurt on Singapore via JFK, our fly B6 to JFK. However, you can’t check your bags through, you can’t get seat assignments and you have to switch terminals outside of security. Good thing they have a six hour connection in JFK. To top it all off, the code share flights cost way more than just buying two separate tickets. Completely worthless.

  11. Don’t forget that Jet Blue has a really interesting relationship with TAP, Portugal’s flag-carrier. I think Jet Blue may even have a stake in it. They’re really, really trying to get international business without having to fly to Europe. TAP and Air Berlin’s transatlantic routes are probably the closest, mainline “legacy” carries to low-cost carries like Norwegian and Wow.

  12. “they leave politics out of things, as they work with both Emirates and Etihad in a mutually beneficial way.”

    Lucky, I’m not sure what you mean by this, since both Emirates and Etihad are in the United Arab Emirates, two different constituent emirates of course. What is notable about being able to work with both?

  13. @ Kenneth — Sorry, what I was trying to say was that they work with the Gulf carriers, which is the way they leave politics out of things. I wasn’t suggesting that was because they partner with both airlines, but rather because they actually partner with them at all.

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