American, Delta and United have been in a war of words with the Middle East carriers for the past couple of years. Although they have unfounded comments, they continue to pursue their agenda. The only airline that has been true enough (and stupid enough) to their commitment against them has been American. They announced they would be ending their codeshare with Qatar and Etihad. Since then, Etihad has announced they would cancel their flights to DFW as a result. As the battle heats up, and as US carriers seem to be loosing, American took another step. They have parted ways with Gulf Air. Their partnership will end on April 30th, 2018.
Gulf Air Partnered with American???
Yes, they indeed do. Many domestic US flights, as well as some transatlantic ones, are codeshared with Gulf Air. Gulf Air has never been a major partner of American, and the airlines have not been very vocal against each other. However, Gulf Air offered a solid option between the Middle East and Europe, with award availability often there. This is yet another blow to the AAdvantage program, as American seems to nix partners without adding any.
Who Suffers More?
In the end, the consumer suffers the most. Although Gulf Air will loose their main US domestic partner, it is their Falcon Club passengers who will not be able to earn miles for US flights. This will also affect AAdvantage members, who for now will not have any partners in the Gulf, or India. This is a major devaluation of American’s program. Most carriers, such as Alaska, when they cut a partner they replace it with another. They did so with Aeromexico and then Singapore Airlines.
I am still waiting for the adult in charge to settle down the US Big 3. They have been acting like children, especially when American rebuffed an offer from Qatar Airways. These attitudes are (in my opinion) very close to collusion, and they are working against the consumer. I truly hope the Trump administration sets them straight, and shuts them up. It would benefit everyone involved, except of course US airline’s ability to overcharge customers. Over the next few months this will be important if American wants to increase the value of their program. They will need to add partners, or make nice with the Gulf Carriers. If things keep going at this rate, American will have been played for the greater fool.
What do you think? What do you make of this partnership’s end? Should American stand their ground or should they retract their actions and make nice with the ME3? Let us know!
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