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JetBlue Moves To End Northeast Alliance Partnership With American Airlines

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James Larounis
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James Larounis

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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...
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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Following a ruling from a federal judge in June, JetBlue has decided it will not appeal and will instead look to terminate its partnership with American Airlines. This would effectively end the Northeast Alliance (NEA) partnership that was extremely beneficial to customers, both from a fare and route perspective and also with loyalty perks on both airlines.

JetBlue Decides To Not Appeal Federal Ruling

In announcing that it will not appeal the ruling, JetBlue made clear it that it will instead focus its efforts on its acquisition of Spirit Airlines, an ultra-low-cost carrier expected to merge with JetBlue, with JetBlue keeping its name and product. JetBlue has been pursuing this acquisition for the last year, and the partnership with American was a likely reason it would have been denied by the Department of Justice.

In JetBlue’s statement, the airline says:

“Despite our deep conviction in the procompetitive benefits of the NEA, after much consideration, JetBlue has made the difficult decision not to appeal the court’s determination that the NEA cannot continue as currently crafted, and has instead initiated the termination of the NEA, beginning a wind down process that will take place over the coming months. We will now turn even more focus to our proposed combination with Spirit, which is the best and most effective opportunity to truly transform the competitive landscape in the U.S. and bring the JetBlue Effect to more routes and markets across the country.”

The Future of the Partnership

American Airlines and JetBlue aircraft at Washington DCA
Image Credit: Daniel Ross

While JetBlue is not appealing, American Airlines is, which creates a weird scenario where it’s very unknown what lies ahead. There are several unanswered questions:

  • With American Airlines appealing, what is the impact on the NEA with partner JetBlue not appealing? What happens if 1 carrier appeals and the other doesn’t?
  • Assuming there is a “wind down” of the benefits, what is the timeline for where the partnership will end?
  • What happens to tickets booked by consumers who assumed that there would be benefits or a partnership?
  • What happens to frequent flyer mile redemptions and earnings?

There are lots of unanswered questions, but it does appear that the partnership will end completely at some point, though it’s unknown when that would be. Based on industry analyst estimates, this may not even happen in 2023 as consumers can generally book 11 months out and may have booked tickets based on the benefit of the partnership.

Hot Tip:

The best way to keep up with what benefits may be ending and when is to follow American Airlines and JetBlue Airways on social media, and regularly review their respective pages on loyalty and elite status.

Final Thoughts

JetBlue has decided not to appeal the ruling by a federal judge ending the Northeast Alliance partnership. Because of this, the partnership will likely end over the coming months, and flyers will, at some point, no longer enjoy reciprocal benefits and common routes.

James Larounis's image

About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.

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