I’ve been thinking about this for the past few days and I’d like to know what you all think about this.
Could JetBlue join Star Alliance?
If you don’t know what Star Alliance is, it’s the world’s largest airline alliance with 26 full members.
Alaska Airlines + American Airlines Powerhouse
(Image by TravelCodex)
Basically I began thinking about this after last week’s huge news regarding the “Alaska Airlines joins Oneworld” stuff.
American Airlines and Alaska are strengthening their partnership. Alaska Airlines considers itself the “Most West Coast” airline. By joining Oneworld, it’s expanding American Airlines and other Oneworld members’ presence on the west coast, which is where American Airlines is the weakest.
American Airlines bases:
As you can see, they’ve got this gaping hole in the Northwest United States.
Alaska Airlines bases:
Basically nothing past the west coast…
Now, If you combine Alaska Airlines and American Airlines’ bases you get something like this:
As you can see, the two airlines have essentially covered all the important locations in the United States. American Airlines now has a new international gateway in Seattle (INSANE: American Airlines Announces SEATTLE To BANGALORE & LONDON) and Alaska Airlines has American Airlines operating the central/east coast flights.
If I’m right, this partnership is a true powerhouse as the entire United States will be connected like never before. I believe this is possibly the most domestically connected the United States has ever been with an airline partnership.
JetBlue + United Airlines Potential
Now… keeping this in mind, what if JetBlue joins Star Alliance and begins a partnership with United Airlines?
United Airlines completely pulled out of New York JFK (one of JetBlue’s hubs) in 2015 and consolidated itself to Newark Liberty with some operations at New York LaGuardia.
However, United regrets that decision. From United Airlines President Scott Kirby:
“I wish I could roll back the clock and change the decision, It was the wrong decision. You can probably personally blame me, at least to some degree, for the fact that United pulled out, When I was at American Airlines, we were consciously trying to push United out of JFK. That was our goal”
Now, United Airlines has been looking at returning to New York JFK, but what if they don’t necessarily have to with their own aircraft?
I haven’t exactly checked on how JFK’s slots work, but I’m assuming the city awards carriers the slots? And you can’t transfer them to other airlines? Correct me if I’m wrong.
Anyways, look at United Airlines’ United States hubs:
There’s a major hole in the southeast United States, right over Florida.
Now, both of their hubs combined:
Now United has the heart of Florida covered with Orlando and Fort Lauderdale along with New York JFK with JetBlue.
In addition to this, JetBlue also has interline agreements and codeshares with a bunch of airlines:
According to the Wiki:
Bolded ones are a member of Star Alliance
All Nippon Airways
Azul Brazilian Airlines
South African Airways
TAP Air Portugal
Note this list might be a a bit inaccurate. For what it’s worth, if these airlines are no longer codesharing/partnering with JetBlue, they did so in recent times.
As you can see, JetBlue partners with a bunch of Star Alliance members, making it seem likely this will be the alliance they go for if they choose to join any of the major alliances.
With American Airlines joining forces with Alaska to fight a war against Delta, maybe United feels left out and could partner with JetBlue to create a seriously connected network.
What about Delta Air Lines?
Well, they’re kinda screwed?
With American taking Alaska, they’re fighting Delta in Seattle.
If United takes JetBlue, United is boosting JetBlue’s network to fight Delta in New York JFK AND Boston.
American Airlines is already dumping capacity into Boston anyway, so imagine if United Airlines were to enter the market with its own capacity…
There really aren’t any major options left for Delta in the United States, and I can’t really see them partnering with airlines like Southwest, Spirit, or Frontier. (Hawaiian Airlines, anyone? 🤔)
If anything, Delta will likely continue to upgauge its Miami presence to boost its new partner LATAM’s flights from Latin/South America.
So that’s basically a wall of text, idk if you actually read it but I hope you enjoyed. This post’s purpose was more or less to get my thoughts organized for other stuff.
If you want the “too long didn’t read” version, here it is:
Alaska partners with American Airlines and joins Oneworld, meaning Oneworld will be the only alliance with 2 U.S. airlines. As a result, they’re creating a powerful U.S. network.
JetBlue already partners with a bunch of Star Alliance members, so they could join Star Alliance and even partner with United Airlines to compliment United Airlines’ network weaknesses.
Do you think JetBlue will join Star Alliance?
Whatever you vote for, let me know your thoughts on why you chose what you voted for.