Happy April Fools Day


Thanks to JetBlue and American Airlines for providing us with a nice bit of April Foolery this year. Yeah, right, they are going to join in some kind of partnership, slot swap, interline agreement.

Good job guys.

Oh, wait.

That was yesterday.

Today is April 1.


So what is your take on all this news? I admit it. I was surprised at the news. I thought April Fools Day had come a day early when I first saw the headline.

If you could put two airlines in front of you that exhibit totally different cultures, management attitude, brand, and product — well, here you go.

If, on the other hand, you want to strip all that out and strictly look at the deal from a strategic viewpoint — then I can see the merit.

From American’s viewpoint, clearly this gives the airline an opportunity to strengthen its position in New York at a relatively low cost — as opposed to Delta Air Lines, which continues to throw the kitchen sink, the garbage pail, and the baby’s bath water into the market in an attempt to snatch market share.

From JetBlue’s standpoint, the agreement will allow its passengers to book international flights much more easily, utilizing JetBlue on the domestic segments, and American on the international legs. In addition, JetBlue should would get eight slot pairs at Washington Reagan (which the airline has lusted after for a long time) while American would pick up 12 slot pairs at JFK.

But having said that, we have to wonder — what does Lufthansa think about all this? Remember, the German uber carrier owns a piece of JetBlue. When the airline first wrote out the check to JetBlue, the assumption was that this was because Lufthansa was less than impressed with Star Alliance partner United Airlines’ presence into New York.

What presence? Exactly.

So what happens with all this? How can JetBlue serve two alliance masters?

Aside from that niggly problem, I think this is just another example of what we are now going to continue to see more and more of in this industry — creative deals that go against what we have seen done in the past. The reason for them? Necessity. Efficiency. This is what is motivating the Delta/US Airways slot swap request. The AirTran/Continental deal.

So, on the surface, I like it. I’d be happy to see even more of these things. (But only if the airlines’ respective IT systems are up to the task!)

My only question for JetBlue would be this — have you surveyed your passengers who fly into JFK as to whom they fly on to Europe? Is American their first choice?

I would be curious to know the answer, because my gut feeling is that someone who is going to fly on JetBlue into JFK and connect to Europe might not necessarily be someone who would fly on American.

Yep. It’s that mismash of culture and expectations thing I’m thinking about.

Then again, maybe, just maybe, that might be one of the reasons American was receptive to do the deal. They knew that too.