American sent me an email this morning (copied in its entirety below). The net of it is that they want antitrust immunity to better cooperate with British Airways to dominate transatlantic flying. (No, that's not quite how they put it.) In order to win over the government, it's clear they want to enlist the support of their "loyal" customers. (I guess they don't read my blog.) So, what's in it for me? Frankly, I couldn't find anything. More opportunities to redeem my miles? They forgot to mention increased fees, increased mileage levels and decreased capacity. More like more opportunities to be frustrated by my inability to redeem miles.
From the get-a-clue department: if you treat your customers like idiots, well, don't complain to me when they behave like idiots. You get what you deserve, American. Note to government regulators: giving American and British Airways any kind of anitrust immunity defeats the purpose of antitrust law. These are the two most predatory airlines in the world; letting them work together in fashions that require antitrust waivers most certainly is not in the best interests of customers or competition.
More Choices Connecting You To The WorldAugust 14, 2008Dear Jonathan Yarmis, I want to thank you for your support of American Airlines and share some exciting news. Today American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia signed a Joint Business Agreement (JBA) to cooperate on flights between North America and Europe, and announced that we plan to expand our global cooperation. Though our three airlines will continue to operate as separate legal entities – with our own fleets, employees and brands – we will cooperate more closely to improve travel choices, offer more convenient schedules and give customers more opportunities to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles. Today's announcement represents good news for travelers. Our customers will be able to travel more easily on a oneworld network that includes nearly 9,000 daily departures to 663 destinations in 134 countries via flight schedules that will be coordinated to deliver more conveniences and choices. As an example, here in the U.S., customers and communities will gain improved access to 207 new international destinations just by our ability to link our networks. We also plan to expand our codesharing and offer combinable fares, allowing customers to choose from multiple routings across the entire oneworld network rather than just those flights marketed individually by each airline. This will also allow us to offer our customers and communities greater access to more competitive fares and ultimately the ability to fly on new and expanded routes. As a result, you'll have greater opportunities to earn and redeem your American Airlines AAdvantage miles on each airline's transatlantic flights. Reciprocal lounge access with British Airways, Iberia and other oneworld members will continue as it is today – however, with an expanded network and more codesharing choices, customers will have more opportunities to take advantage of this valuable benefit.As a key first step, our three airlines – along with Finnair and Royal Jordanian, our transatlantic partners in the oneworld global alliance – plan to apply today with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to receive global antitrust immunity. This will not only help us work together more closely for the benefit of our customers, employees and shareholders, but will also allow the oneworld alliance to compete more effectively with SkyTeam and the Star Alliance, which already enjoy broad immunity among their global air alliance members.Although these changes, if approved, will take some time to be implemented, we will be in touch as new information becomes available. In the meantime, please visit www.aa.com for more information.We hope that you are excited about the great benefits and choices that will take place from this proposed relationship. We will keep you posted on the latest developments. Again, I want to thank you for flying American Airlines. Sincerely yours, Dan GartonExecutive Vice President, Marketing