American and Delta to scrap the interline agreement

Delta and American have decided to end their interline agreement that allowed them to put their passengers on each other’s flights during irregular operations (IRROPS) situations. With this change, now passengers of two of the biggest airlines have reduced number of options available to them for being accommodated onto other flights. Not only is this going to make things inconvenient during times where weather plays havoc but it may also end up to longer wait times and connection issues in many cases.

I can understand why Delta wants to end this relationship; they have been harping about their on-time performance and have been a making a killing with low fuel prices driving up their sales and profitability. On the other hand American has been playing catch up on their On-time performance front which not only irks Delta but also doesn’t pay them very well. Hence Delta wants to go higher up on the charges for accommodating AA’s passengers. It’s a clever move from both the airline’s end as Delta doesn’t want to take up additional pax when it can very well sell those seats on its own while American doesn’t want to pony up more cash for every pax that it sends across. As per the latest data for every 1 passenger that Delta sends, American ends up sending 5.

Overall I feel that it’s not going to be good from a consumers perspective but in the current state where the operating costs are going lower and the baggage charges are going higher, every airline wants to follow the proverbial “Make hay while the sun shines”. How long this will last is anybody’s guess.

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