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Judge Orders American Airlines and JetBlue To End Northeast Alliance

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Daniel Ross
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Daniel Ross

Senior Content Contributor

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Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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As the old adage goes: All good things must come to an end.

On Friday May 19, 2023, U.S. District Judge Leo Sorokin ruled that American Airlines and JetBlue must break their Northeast Alliance due to antitrust legislation.

“It is abundantly clear to the Court that the defendants’ primary motivation in establishing the NEA was to strengthen their own competitive positions against Delta (and, to a lesser extent, United) in Boston and New York,” wrote Sorokin in Friday’s ruling.

What happens next? Read on to find out.

Northeast Alliance Is No More

American and JetBlue’s Northeast Alliance has been under scrutiny since it was founded in 2020.

The alliance was created, as per the airline’s published intentions, to benefit Northeast-based travelers and frequent flyers of both airlines.

However, almost immediately after its creation, the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit accusing the airlines of doing the exact opposite by increasing fares and reducing choices for travelers in the Northeast.

JetBlue American Tail Fins
Image Credit: JetBlue

Essentially, it was argued that the coming together of the airlines reduced competition on certain important routes in the Northeast with the negative impact being felt particularly by passengers flying to or from Boston and New York.

In the eyes of Sorokin, the 2 airlines codesharing on these routes, especially to and from LaGuardia (LGA) and Boston (BOS), “has led to decreased capacity, lower frequencies, or reduced consumer choices on multiple routes, including some that are heavily traveled.”

Sorokin has given the airlines 30 days to officially end their Northeast Alliance partnership.

What Happens Next?

In the next 30 days, the airlines will have to come together to figure out the details of their separation, and, most importantly, what this means for American Airlines and JetBlue frequent flyers.

Two things can be said for certain: all reciprocal benefits of the AAdvantage and TrueBlue frequent flyer programs will come to an end, and members of said programs will no longer be able to earn miles when flying the other airline.

Hot Tip:

In more positive news for JetBlue frequent flyers, the airline recently unveiled its all-new TrueBlue program that gives even non-frequent flyers the opportunity to benefit from the program’s perks.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on this developing story and publish updates as and when they’re released.

Final Thoughts

American and JetBlue’s Northeast Alliance’s days are sadly numbered.

The news will come as a blow to fans of the alliance, but will no doubt be welcomed by competitors Delta and United.

Daniel Ross's image

About Daniel Ross

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points Guy, and more.

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