Since LATAM announced its divorce from oneworld and its cosying up to rival Delta, American Airlines has reportedly blocked the booking of codeshare tickets. While the US carrier denys anything like this has been done, it does admit that no new codeshares will be accepted by the airline.
It was just yesterday that One Mile at a Time wrote about how American Airlines was “acting like a bitter ex” over LATAM’s move to cut ties with the airline while cozying up to major rival Delta. Apparently, there were reports that computer systems were displaying policies that immediately halted LATAM codeshare flights on American-operated flights and the transfer of baggage from LATAM flights to American Airlines.
Apparently, an individual in the air travel community noticed some code and policy changes. This is what it looked like:
LA-045 LATAM AIRLINES GROUP
CANNOT ISSUE TKT-NO AGREEMENT ON FILE
AA-001 AMERICAN AIRLINES/AMERICAN AIRLINES, INC.
CANNOT CHECK BAGGAGE NO AGREEMENT ON FILE
According to OMAAT, the above language means that American Airlines will stop allowing LATAM to issue tickets for travel on American. Effectively, all LATAM codeshare flights operated by American now show as “zeroed” out. Furthermore, the second part of the changes means American Airlines would not check through bags from passengers on LATAM itineraries. This was understood to also include current bookings.
Response from American Airlines
Apparently this caused enough of a stir that American Airlines issued a press release and post on their website to address this news. In the statement, American Airlines says that it:
“[C]ontinues to accept customers and baggage of ticketed LATAM customers who are scheduled to fly on American in accordance with our current interline and oneworld agreements. Additionally, LATAM continues to accept American Airlines customers as well. There is no change for American or LATAM customers, and American is not aware of any customers who are being denied travel.”
In Q&A format, the airline goes on to say that the airline is not aware of any customers of American or LATAM who are being denied travel and that their existing arrangements and agreements are intact and functioning as normal. In fact, the codeshare agreement remains intact and lounge and frequent flyer policies remain the same.
American does make it clear that NEW codeshare bookings have come to a stop.
However, the statement makes clear that these agreements will wind down over the next few months. This would make sense as LATAM recently announced it intends to depart from the OneWorld alliance.
What’s really going on?
The short answer is that it’s still difficult to tell what’s going on. American Airlines isn’t taking responsibility for what was shown in the Sabre system. While Sabre shows American was blocking LATAM, Amadeus suggests that LATAM was blocking American. Sabre and Amadeus are computer systems – Global Distribution Systems (GDS) – used by travel agents and companies to search, price, book, and ticket travel services provided by airlines.
Delta Air Lines issued a statement today saying that it would “honor previously-purchased LATAM tickets for customers with impacted travel”. Their statement read,
“Delta became aware that LATAM customers who had purchased tickets under their former partnership are seeing canceled flight segments or itineraries.”
It’s a confusing situation with American Airlines essentially saying “there is no problem here” and Delta saying “we’re coming to the rescue of anyone impacted by this problem”. Therefore, at the end of the day, American Airlines will have to be taken at its word that everything is running smoothly and that only new codeshare bookings are suspended.