How Airline Interline Agreements Can Affect You

4 years ago
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plane5The recent computer failure at Delta Air Lines, following similar breakdowns at United, Southwest, and JetBlue, stranded tens of thousands of passengers.

While the airline resumed full operations within about 48 hours, that didn’t mean passengers who were stuck got where they were supposed to go.

One big reason has to do with something called interline agreements.

Historically, major airlines had reciprocal agreements to carry a competitor’s passengers in the event of a mechanical problem or other flight irregularity.

But not every airline participates in these agreements.

Delta, American, Untied, and a few other airlines—like Alaska—have a number of interline agreements.

But JetBlue, Southwest, Allegiant, and some others do not.

That severely limits your options in the event your flight is canceled or ridiculously delayed.

What made matters worse in the Delta incident is that it no longer had an interline agreement with American in place.

So there were even fewer options for passengers.

A word of advice: If you’re booked on a flight that’s either canceled or delayed, don’t just ask the airline to rebook you.

Ask which airlines they have interline agreements with and then narrow down the schedule options.

You’ll find out right away if you’re leaving at all.

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