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Airlines May Consolidate US Domestic Routes?!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


This could get interesting.

CNBC reported this evening that, in a money-saving move, airlines may consolidate US domestic routes.

As we understand it: certain routes may be given exclusively(-ish?) to various airlines.

For example — and this is hypothetical — if you booked a Delta ticket to fly Seattle to Denver, you may end up on a United flight with people who book similar trips on American or Spirit.

Or people who purchased an American flight from LAX to Las Vegas could ultimately be placed on a Southwest itinerary.

Can you imagine the good-ish fortune for the airline(s) landing LAX to JFK, etc?

According to CNBC:

The aid package requires airlines to not furlough employees for the next six months, while also maintaining service, to the best of their ability, to the cities the airlines currently serve. The problem with maintaining service is that many planes are virtually empty.

“Does it make sense for more than one of us to be flying to a city when there are only a few seats filled on each plane”? one airline executive asked rhetorically in a conversation discussing the situation with CNBC. “It may make more sense to maintain service to that city, but put all passengers on one plane.”

Executives with multiple airlines, who talked on background with CNBC, stress the idea has not yet been formally broached with the Transportation Department.

Industry executives say the move would not only require approval from the Trump administration, but also for carriers to negotiate to complex issues including scheduling and sharing costs.

Consolidating service to some cities under one airline idea makes sense given the dramatic and rapid drop in passenger levels, with airlines filling just 5% to 15% of the seats on their flights. On Saturday, the Transportation Security Administration screened just 184,026 passengers at U.S. airports compared to 2.17 mIllion passengers on the same day last year, a decline of more than 91%.

“What About My Upgrade?!”

Oh, boy. What a poop storm this could create amongst some flyers.

I assume — perhaps — elite flyers on a “chosen” airline would be first in line for upgrades.

On the other hand, because flights are so empty right now and most inflight service is terminated, scoring your own row in coach would be an “upgrade” itself.

— Chris

 

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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7 Comments

  1. Sounds like a massive “code share”. Makes sense. As for upgrades, I suspect that those will be suspended. Essentially, you get what you paid for.

  2. FNT Delta Diamond Reply

    It would basically mean the end of the frequent flyer programs. Imagine Delta customers suddenly flying United. When things return to normal, could Delta really risk those customers never coming back? The same for American. Why would American want to expose its customers to better airlines? Not to mention the logistics of this even possible. Even something as simple as getting a bag from one airline to another is a challenge with airlines in partner relationships. Could you imagine something say in Chicago where suddenly hit somebody has to go from the main terminal to a random terminal that Delta is using? And they only have 25 minutes to do it with a checked bag?

    I think what happens is we see further consolidations. Maybe Alaska and JetBlue? Or Hawaiian and Alaska? Spirit, Sun Country and Frontier.

  3. Who cares…no ones flying. These services are for people who MUST travel, not business travel. We are in the middle of a pandemic, people ate dying and some are worried about an upgrade on an empty airplane.

  4. Nah, I don’t see this ever coming to fruition. Far too messy,besides, this so called crisis is about over. All back to normal very soon.

    • @JJ are you f-ing serious? Sorry to swear but this isn’t even at the apex yet!

  5. Brian Fisher Reply

    As an IT guy, I would LOVE to see how they implement this. I assume they would use codeshare logic that is already built into their systems. However, the physical logistics as some mention above would get just too messy.

    And, besides upgrades, what about lounge access if passing through a hub that doesn’t have your chosen airlines lounge in it?

    And how do they equitably distribute routes, that would get really nasty. It’s an interesting idea, but I don’t see how it could possibly work.

  6. Barry Graham Reply

    I’ll just be happy when we are in a position where we can fly again.

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