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Back in February, American Airlines backtracked on two key positions it had taken in recent years. First, the airline did a u-turn on its relationship with Alaska Airlines and the two are now best friends and, just a few days later, American Airlines forgot that it had been calling for Qatar Airways to be banned from operating services to/from the US and announced a strategic partnership with the Middle Eastern carrier. The first stage of that partnership has now kicked into action.
Qatar Airways has confirmed that it has now started to place its code on American Airlines domestic flights with a full rollout across over 1,000 flights expected to be complete in the next few weeks. The codeshares will focus on flights feeding into the 10 US cities to/from which Qatar Airways offers service and the first flights are already on sale on the Qatar Airways website.
Per Qatar Airways:
The first phases of the codeshare will see Qatar Airways’ passengers able to book travel on American Airlines’ extensive domestic connections via Chicago (ORD) and Dallas (DFW) to 200 cities including Miami (MIA), Houston (IAH), Atlanta (ATL), Detroit (DTW), Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP), Seattle (SEA), and San Francisco (SFO). Additional cities, including destinations in Central America, and the Caribbean will be added, subject to government approvals.
The codeshare agreement will be expanded to include American’s international flights between the United States and other parts of the Americas as well as on American’s flights to/from Europe.
American Airlines will be placing its code on Qatar Airways flights between the United States and Qatar as well as on multiple Qatar Airways flights operating between Qatar and the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The two airlines have also confirmed that they are continuing to explore the opportunity for American Airlines to operate its own flights between the US and Qatar.
It’s great to see Qatar Airways and American Airlines forming closer ties because, if nothing else, it makes it less likely that Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker will follow through on his threat to pull his airline out of the oneworld alliance.
It’s interesting to note that the two airlines are still mentioning the possibility of American Airlines operating one or more flights between the US and Doha because I didn’t think that was likely to lead to anything when it was first mentioned in February and I find the idea even less plausible now – Qatar Airways already operates on all the more lucrative routes between the US and Doha (presumably not even Doug Parker is arrogant enough to believe American can compete with Qatar Airways on quality) and the aviation world is in no state to be contemplating any new routes which are not guaranteed to be good money-makers.
AAdvantage members will probably be looking forward to a time when they can book Qatar Airways flights through American Airlines as bookings made through American will, on the whole, earn more Elite Qualifying Miles and, because fares are generally high, they may even earn more Elite Qualifying Dollars.
Qatar Airways has started codesharing on a number of American Airlines routes within the US and it is expecting to have its code on over 1,000 American Airlines flights in the coming weeks. No information has been provided to let us know when we can expect to see American Airlines codes appearing on Qatar Airways flights, but no doubt we’ll hear more in the near future.
Featured Image courtesy of Qatar Airways