The interline agreement between American and Delta will end on September 15th. While not that big of a deal on a good day, bad weather or other operational days are something different. For example, let’s say your AA flight from ATL to DFW is delayed or cancelled. Right now, American can book a seat on Delta for you, and send you on your way with your existing ticket via Delta and vice versa. After 9/15, this won’t be an option.
This news was first reported by the Aviation News Blog at the Dallas Morning News. They have a deeper look at the situation. Apparently, Delta broke away from routine negotiations of interline agreements between the airlines recently and sought to negotiate its own agreement with American. According to an excerpt from an AA memo provided by the DMN,
In April of this year, participating airlines across the industry agreed to new rates for moving customers between carriers during irregular operations. Delta recently decided to go outside of that joint agreement and negotiate an individual agreement with American. We have been unable to come to terms on an agreement with Delta and, as a result, have mutually agreed to end our interline agreement effective September 15. From that date, neither airline will offer interline services to each other, including the ability to rebook passengers at discounted rates on the other carrier when flight disruptions occur. (Note that we will continue to honor valid tickets already purchased on or before September 14 through the existing interline agreement, so there will be no changes there.)
This wouldn’t stop AA from sending you to Delta in a pinch I suppose, but they’d have to pay the full fare to do so. I would not expect that to happen. In 4 years of airport operations management, I saw what was then (perhaps still is) known as a flight interruption manifest (FIM) exactly once. FIM = essentially a full Y fare.
What gives? One could speculate that Delta believes it is transporting too many displaced AA passengers at discount rates. Frankly, I have no idea. Could be another example of Delta being impressed with itself too. Who knows? In the end, it might not affect a lot of people at the big airports, but small fields where AA and DL are the only option? It is definitely something for travelers on both airlines to be aware of. A little piece of me thinks that this might work itself out over time. I surely hope so.
-MJ, September 11, 2015