Delta Flushes Offer to Help Stranded American-LATAM Passengers Down the Memory Hole

Yesterday Delta announced an offer to assist passengers stranded by American Airlines as their partnership with LATAM breaks up.

American, for its part, said there were no such stranded passengers. They continue to accept passengers on LATAM tickets, passengers booked on American codeshares remain booked, and luggage continues to be interlined.

The only actual change is that American has stopped selling codeshares for travel on LATAM where American also offers their own flight. This limits options for customers, especially already-ticketed customers looking to make changes, since they can generally only change onto American’s own flights. But there aren’t examples yet of passengers booked on American codeshares for travel on LATAM that have been unable to complete their trip as planned.

Now Delta has flushed their offer announcement down the memory hole.

It was a great PR ploy, but perhaps ill-considered if they were suggesting American Airlines was causing problems for customers that they were not actually causing.

None of which changes, of course:

  • That it seems incredibly petty for American to zero out inventory for LATAM codeshares in markets they serve themselves. This strikes me as contrary to their commitment to a “seamless experience for customers” as they unwind their partnership in the coming months.

  • That American needs a partner in South America now that it’s losing LATAM, the only obvious one being Gol which can provide significant feed to American’s Brazil flights but doesn’t match LATAM’s value across the rest of the continent.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Doesn’t Delta have a partnership with Gol? If they do it would seem unlikely to me that Gol would partner with AA?

  2. What will happen if there is a change to a codeshare flight on routes not served by the other airline?

    I have a bunch of bookings for various family members towards the end of this year that included a mix of AA and LA tickets, AA and LA codeshares, etc. For example, one person is returning SCL-MIA-DCA on an LA flight then an AA flight with an LA code. If the AA flight changes (and it likely will as it’s currently scheduled on a 737 MAX), how is it possible for LA to reacommodate on a route they don’t serve? I’m expecting resistance as slotting in an AA-coded segment would break the fare rules.

  3. @Bob – Delta is divesting its 9% stake in Gol and ceasing its cooperation. That’s necessary, they believe, to get government approval for this deal.

  4. In view of my own experience of Latam Airlines, there is more than likely trouble to come for those who have made any bookings via Latam, that might be affected. Even prior to this Delta investment, Latam were and are a Customer Service fiasco of global standing. Not to mention trying to obtain a refund of an alleged “fully refundable” ticket which took months of hassle. Anyone ever watched their Passengers running up and down the Piers at GRU because Latam cant decide from which Gate their flights will depart from? Delta might have actually done AA the biggest favour they never thought they would achieve!

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