American Airlines Separates From Yet Another Airline Partner: WestJet
The world's largest airline is continuing to go at it alone. Already in 2017, we've seen American Airlines slash partnerships with a number of airlines. So far, six of AA's 24 active airline partnerships are ending or being scaled back in 2018 — with all of these announcements coming in just the last six months.
In July, AA announced it's dropping reciprocal elite benefits and methods of earning miles on Alaska Airlines flights effective January 1, 2018. A couple of weeks later, the airline dropped its partnership with Jet Airways also effective January 1, 2018. In October, Oneworld partner Air Berlin ceased operations.
And, then there's the Middle Eastern airlines: American is cutting codeshare relationships with Qatar and Etihad effective March 25, 2018 — which is leading Etihad to cut flights to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW). In mid-November, the Dallas-based carrier quietly noted it would end its partnership with another non-Oneworld partner Gulf Air in April 2018.
This time around, AA is severing ties with another North American airline — WestJet.
Per a notice posted on the partnership page, American Airlines is ending its partnership with the Canadian non-Oneworld airline effective July 31, 2018. Until that date, you can still earn AAdvantage miles on WestJet marketed flights. Redemptions on WestJet flights were never part of the AAdvantage partnership.
However, the partnership is being cutback before July. As part of "unwinding our codeshare relationship with our Canadian partner WestJet," American Airlines has "stopped the sale of WestJet-operated codeshare flights and the codeshare will end effective January 15, 2018." Passengers booked on WestJet prior to January 15 will be unaffected, but passengers booked on a WestJet-operated American Airlines-marketed flight "will be re-accommodated."
What's causing this? According to a statement from American Airlines, the two airlines have met over the past few months "to discuss the possibility of a closer collaboration." However, the statement explains: "it became clear that our best path forward was to make changes to the relationship."
Then, just a couple of weeks ago, Delta and WestJet filed for a joint venture for flights between the US and Canada — similar to the type of relationship that Delta and AeroMexico already have for flights between the US and Mexico. This seems to be the final nail in the coffin of American Airlines' partnership with WestJet.
With the elimination of this partnership, AA will be left with no other Canadian partners, while Delta draws closer to WestJet and United is partnered with fellow Star Alliance airline Air Canada. Instead, American Airlines plans to continue to expand its "robust schedule of service between the US and Canada," which it's expanding up to 69 daily flights.
After the elimination of the American Airlines partnership, WestJet flyers will only be able to credit flights to WestJet Rewards, Delta SkyMiles, KLM/Air France's Flying Blue and Qantas.
What do you think about all of the changes to American Airlines partnerships?