American and JetBlue are getting sued, but your travel plans are safe

Sep 23, 2021

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You might’ve seen some splashy headlines this week about American Airlines and JetBlue getting sued by the Department of Justice.

Specifically, the department filed a 42-page anti-trust suit challenging the 14-month-old Northeast Alliance between the two carriers, which includes 58 new routes and 175 codeshares to and from the New York and Boston metropolitan areas, along with frequent flyer benefits and increased coordination to better compete against the region’s two dominant airlines, Delta and United.

Now, in light of the suit, you might be worried about booking one of the codeshares or spooked about what’ll happen to your reciprocal elite perks.

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Well, the good news is that nothing’s changing from the passenger experience perspective; despite the lawsuit, it’s business as usual for the two carriers for now.

Codeshare flights will continue to operate, new routes, including the much-anticipated JFK to New Delhi long-haul will take off and all existing frequent flyer benefits will remain unchanged. If you’re planning to book flights through the alliance, rest assured that nothing is changing in the short term. Nothing is likely to be rolled back until DOJ gets its day in court, and – even then – only if it’s able to prove its case.

You can still book codeshares on either airline’s website, credit miles for AA and JetBlue flights to either carrier and enjoy streamlined connections in New York-JFK.

In fact, both carriers have reiterated that they’re moving forward with adding new flights, expanding codeshare options, introducing additional loyalty perks and more. As promised, travelers can expect reciprocal elite benefits to begin in the fall. Additionally, the airlines are slated to introduce the ability to redeem points and miles on either carrier in the coming months.

“What we will do is continue to deliver on the promise of growth. This winter, the NEA will offer more than 700 daily flights from New York and Boston and continue investment to provide a seamless travel experience to customers,” Vasu Raja, American’s chief revenue officer, wrote in an email sent to employees regarding the lawsuit.

JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes shared a similar sentiment in an email sent to the airline’s 20,000 staffers. “We cannot let this lawsuit slow our momentum in bringing the NEA to life. Because of growth from the NEA, we are on track to hire 1,800 new Crewmembers this year. We fully intend to launch the new routes and BlueCities we have announced, as well as expand codeshare options.”

To further assuage doubts about the airlines’ commitment to the alliance, the carriers put together a new website, neaflies.com, to rebut the DOJ suit and argue that customers benefit. In the last section, “Next Steps,” it’s clear that it’s full steam ahead on implementing the alliance, despite the lawsuit.

Once the case makes it to court, things could change, but for now, fear not — the lawsuit isn’t going to upend your travel plans in the short term.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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