American Airlines, the largest airline in the United States, and Delta Airlines, the second largest carrier, have decided to resume an agreement that allows the airlines to rebook their passengers on each other’s airlines in the event of travel disruptions.
The pact took place on January 24, 2017 and their mutual goal is to get passengers out of airports and to their final destinations as soon as possible.
Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant called the new agreement “a tool that will give our employees more options to reaccommodate customers whose flights are canceled during weather and other uncommon scenarios when Delta flights are canceled.”
A spokesperson from American said that Delta approached them about the agreement, and also suggested the arrangement was another tool for its staff to help customers.
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) in Atlanta was inundated with storms in April 2017, which caused thousands of flights to be cancelled. Fast forward to December 2017, and the same airport experienced a massive power outage that grounded even more flights. ATL is Delta’s hub. American has its own problems in December when a scheduling glitch allowed too many pilots to take vacation time during the busy Christmas holiday season.
Until September 2015, American and Delta had an agreement, called an interline pact, that allowed them to rebook each other’s passengers, but Delta intimated that agreement ended when more American passengers were sent to Delta than vice versa. However this new agreement is not an interline pact. “This is strictly an irregular-operations ticketing and baggage reaccommodation agreement,” said Durrant. “A true interline means things like fare combinability for travel agency and third-party sales. That’s not what this is.”
Regardless of its name, the arrangement will allow both airlines to help passengers when they’re most in need of flights and that, in turn, should put a damper on the bad publicity that follows irate customers taking to social media.
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