JetBlue’s Key Executive Who Left For Delta In January Is Already Moving To American Airlines

Delta poached JetBlue’s Head of Revenue and Planning in January. Scott Laurence was JetBlue’s architect of the “Northeast Alliance” with American Airlines before becoming Delta’s Vice President of Network Planning.

It was a shocking move. The knowledge he was taking with him of American-JetBlue strategy sent shockwaves. It’s the alliance between American and JetBlue that sets up the two to compete against Delta. The Department of Justice, in part at Delta’s behest, is suing to stop it. And Delta poached one of the key insiders who could help in that fight.

And then… in February Laurence was gone from Delta. It was all a great big mystery. But now he’s resurfaced – moving to American Airlines, as confirmed by Alison Sider of the Wall Street Journal:

It was striking to me that such a senior executive at JetBlue could decamp for Delta, with no non-compete in place. But American Airlines senior executives don’t have them.

This all raises so many questions for which I have few answers. When he arrived and abruptly departed Delta, I wondered whether lawyers and confidential information was somehow involved. Maybe the threat of his involvement with Delta was so great that American Airlines backed a truck up to lure him away quickly before there was a chance for him to reveal anything? And now one wonders whether he picked up any secrets while working at Delta that he brings with him back to the Northeast Alliance!

The man, though, will have worked for 3 different airlines in two months in a very senior capacity and it’s all so.. mysterious. What he’ll be doing at American, at least, we now know. As the airline tells Zach Griff,

Laurence is joining the Fort Worth-based carrier in a new role created especially for him. He’s heading up a team that oversees oneworld partnerships, cobrand (not to be confused with loyalty) and NDC, or new distribution capability, which is an industry technology that lets airlines better sell and market their products.

Laurence will report directly to Vasu Raja, American’s chief commercial officer, when he starts his new job in the coming days.

The split between cobrand credit cards and loyalty is an interesting thing in itself, since there’s no Vice President in charge of American AAdvantage and a decision was taken to split the team between all things related to air travel on the one hand and the selling miles (partner) business on the other in a re-organization that focuses clear accountability on revenue generation.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. please provide evidence, Gary, that the DOJ is acting at Delta’s behest to quash the NEA. Proof, not conjectures.

    And perhaps the whole point all along was that Delta wanted to lure Laurence away from JBLU potentially to make it harder for JBLU to defend the NEA but had no intention of ever giving him access to anything of significance.
    Once Laurence found out that he wasn’t going to be promoted to CEO by the next day, he walked away.

    And if he really was the JBLU architect of the NEA for JBLU, it poses even more problems for the NEA’s defense that he is now at AAL; the DOJ’s argument was that AAL and JBLU are way too close for not being in a merger and being at AA only confirms their argument.

    It is as ridiculous to assume that Laurence won’t tell what he knows to AA as it was to assume that Kirby did nothing at UA based on his knowledge of AA.

  2. Speaking of conjecture Timmy Dunn, it sounds like you’re spreading propoganda. But then again, I guess it’s just conjecture on my part without properly provided evidence…

    I’ll note it very interesting that some internet rando’ such as yourself has such a high sensitivity to an article. But again, that’s just my conjecture, Timmy. Or maybe you’re just a scorned DL exec who has been totally embarrassed by this brilliant troll exec move.

  3. no, William, I’m trolling nothing.
    The notion that someone that worked for Delta for one month actually took anything of value is beyond believability.

    The only reasons why Laurence would leave Delta on short notice are:
    1. He shared or was asked to share information about JBLU which Delta did not want to have him around for, possibly because of liabilities WRT the DOJ.
    2. He actually shared what he knew and Delta got what they wanted out of him and then released him.
    3. He had very unrealistic expectations about what he was going to do at Delta which were quickly shattered.

    The notion that Delta lost anything including information is far from realistic.

    Logic, not trolling, will narrow the possibilities to what is realistic and not what you or anyone else wants to believe.

    The chances are high that Scott Laurence got played by Delta.

    The implications for the DOJ case against the NEA are significant. AA has to be able to unequivocally prove that he shared absolutely nothing about B6 or the NEA – which is virtually insurmountable

  4. In next week’s episode of ‘As the Airline Turns’, Scott Laurence earns a companion pass for his fiancé by signing up for a trifecta of credit cards and simultaneously hitting the spending threshold on each in exactly one week by going on a spending spree with his AA signup bonus, whereupon he and his lovely new bride join Southwest to be Director and Directoress of Revenue Management. Must watch TV!

  5. so true, Jonathan.
    It should also be noted that Mr. Laurence’s moves at each airline are being more closely watched – including every transaction he initiates on any of his “employers” IT systems – than Zelensky’s moves by Russia.

  6. I would have expected that as part of the NEA team, there would have been a noncompete for poaching directly from each other. Would a one month stop at DL be enough to work around that?

  7. I wonder if Lawrence and his family got lifetime flight privileges from Delta despite being at AAL now? Just like Scott Kirby did when he arrived at UAL from AAL.

    Highly unlikely since Lawrence was only at Delta for a month.

  8. Rhetorical question: How many real secrets are there in the airline industry? Probably not many.

    To me, all the NEA does is level the playing field among Delta, United, and American/JetBlue in New York City. That’s why I think the lawsuit will ultimately be settled. It really has very little merit if the only affected parties are Delta, United, and American/JetBlue. But … no one knows what a judge will decide. As the old saying goes, “You’re better off with the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”

    If I’m observing the scene correctly, the airline that’s pushing the DOJ isn’t Delta, but Spirit. And it has a rational argument because of the paucity of LCC/ULCCs in the New York City metro area. The irony is that the LCC/ULCC space has generally been the most consistently profitable one in the U.S airline industry, on a percentage basis, in spite of (or because of?) its relatively small presence in New York.

    I’m guessing (and only guessing) that Spirit’s ultimate objective is more slots at LaGuardia.

  9. thank you for your cogent comment.
    Gary has yet to back up his statement that the DOJ is acting “on Delta’s behest”
    In fact, Spirit filed multiple objections to the LGA slot processes LONG before the NEA and they persisted after.

    The real problem w/ the NEA is that it stops the return of slots to the slot pool that American was not using and that JBLU now will try to use. The problem w/ the argument that JBLU will make those slots work where they haven’t worked for AAL is that JBLU’s on-time IS the BIGGEST reason why Delta does as well as it does in NYC and BOS in markets that are competitive with JBLU.

    Business travelers simply are not going to buy tickets on a carrier that runs the operational disaster that is JBLU about 300 days/year. JBLU will then be left with fares well below other carriers -exactly as is the case in other markets where they serve alongside other carriers today.

    and a judge should not have a hard time being able to answer the question of whether any two US carriers have ever been able to coordinate schedules and share revenues even in a limited part of the country and the answer is NO. This case is as much of a slap against the DOT which tried to apply international JV standards to two domestic carriers – which is simply not something a judge will have any difficulty showing the is not permitted.

    Laurence has knowledge – but, as you rightly point out, there is nothing that any carrier involved doesn’t know. That isn’t the point of the lawsuit, however. The lawsuit is about whether the DOT approved something and provided benefits to AAL and JBLU which they could not have received under a merger agreement which is the ONLY way under which any two US airlines have been able to do what AAL and JBLU are now doing.

  10. I thought the Points Guy site devolved into a paid for marketing tool. Why would an airline talk to Zach Griff? Is it because he would only ask the questions he was told to ask? I’ve seen lots of negative comments about the site that doesn’t take comments (red flag!).

  11. So cute how Spun up Tim Dunn is over this article and how he seems to think Gary Leff owes him anything. Chill Tim… Not sure why the NEA riles you up so much, but calm down. I’m sure your dreams of passport plum domination can continue in with enough Nyquil.

  12. Julie,
    Gary is being held to no higher or lesser standard than anyone else.
    If someone wants to say that the DOJ is acting in anyone’s behest, they should be able to provide concrete evidence and not just conspiracy theories. I have challenged those types of accusations regardless of who makes them. It is you who are riled up because you can’t or don’t critically ask those kinds of questions.

    And anyone that thinks that a former airline exec from another airline was going to steal anything at his new employer is grossly naive. At worst, Laurence tried to access data about the NE and save or send it and DL IT caught it and he was immediately dismissed.

    B6 and Laurence were played by DL even if he had stayed. Putting him in a newly created role at AA doesn’t change that he is in charge of nothing that interested him. AA isn’t stupid and will have to build a wall the size of the former Berlin wall to ensure they don’t get hung out to dry by the DOJ for hiring someone that the DOJ says has shared too much with AA already.

    It’s really not rocket science, Julie. It’s critical thinking.

  13. “Critical thinking” mentioned by tim Dunn. Thanks for the laugh. You, of all people, are the last to lecture anyone with critical thinking.
    Your comments should come with a Twitter style warning of “warning: this post contains misleading information”

    You thought it was a brilliant move when delta poached Scott from B6 now you’re acting like a baby because Scott hated working with the SVp of delta’s network planning and left for aa.

    It’s hardly any doj worry that a person moved from JetBlue to delta to aa. People are allowed to move to and leave companies, even your beloved delta.

    Lord, you haven’t been posting on Cranky’s site for a while and I forgot how ludicrous your writing is.

  14. Julie,
    the only thing that is laughable (in the most pathetic way) is that you come out of the woodwork to trash another poster and have yet to contribute a single thought about what is going on with Laurence.
    Your own lack of critical thinking and reading comprehension is highlighted by the fact that you could not post a single quote where I praised DL’s move to poach B6 for any reason OTHER THAN in pulling him away from B6.

    Regardless of where he ends up, he left a position with huge autonomy over JBLU’s strategies and will likely never achieve that again; he wasn’t going to achieve it at Delta and he certainly won’t at American where he will be relegated to a broom closet.

  15. Let’s remind the readers of your credibility.

    Delta fired you. Even delta didn’t think you had credibility. Nothing more needs to be said.

    There’s nothing to reply to in your posts because they’re just the angry rants and weird demands for explanation from a bitter, fired, ex delta employee who still attaches his self worth off passport plum domination though it’s anyone’s guess as to why.
    You spend every day trolling every airline blog imaginable trying to extol daddy delta and trash aa. It’s just pathetic. Get a job. Stop trolling. If you think anyone wants to read your drivel, then start a blog. Stop trying to hijack every other blog with your useless commentary.

  16. “ by the fact that you could not post a single quote where I praised DL’s move to poach B6”
    And why would I waste my time researching anything about you when you have zero credibility because you expect someone to search all your old comments and provide them to you? Lol
    Even this comment from you is so Tim Dunn: Random “you didn’t even do this” random thing that no one asked about. Your random rabbit trails and demands in comments are just funny and pathetic. Get a job. Try getting one at an airline. Oh right. You had one and lost it.

  17. once again, it is YOUR credibility that is in tatters and the only response you have is to attack another poster.

    Please provide evidence that I was fired from Delta. You invent what you want to believe because you can’t address the real issues being discussed.

    Walk away, Julie.

    Delta played JetBlue and Scott Laurence and all of the tangential arguments you try to make don’t change that.

  18. Your reputation is well-known Tim, aka worldtraveller.
    Fired at delta
    Banned from airliners.net

    Don’t hide and lie about your past to fool others. You’re a known entity to many.
    Delta played no one. Delta has been played. Scott left within a month and is taking the delta library and strategy to aa now, it seems.

  19. You have no evidence of anything and you can’t support your statements. You have no idea who I have ever worked for or whether I received welfare or done prison time.

    I know it is hard in the midst of your being outclassed in a debate to focus on the topic at hand but it is Scott Laurence and not me.

    You make a bigger fool of yourself with every additional post you make.

  20. Live your dream, Tim.
    Your history across blogs is well documented. As is the constant fake data you post.
    Demanding information from Gary and acting like Scott will take no knowledge from delta to aa is just the latest in your weird, sad life

  21. If you would like to believe that Scott Laurence took anything that could possibly damage Delta, then I will let you believe that.

    You can’t prove it any more than you can prove anything about my history.

    If YOU wish to live in a world of reality that exists only in your own mind, don’t let me stop you.

    If you are convinced that Scott Laurence had the upper hand, how about you share in the next six months with us all that he has accomplished at American? I am certain you won’t because there will be far less said about him including on the many blogs and av sites that clearly seem to define your life.

  22. Gary, love the blog. Why do you let Tim Dunn try to run this blog for you from the comments section? The comments from your readers are often at least somewhat insightful, but the second Tim gets involved, it turns into a “I just can’t believe there is an airline as amazing as Delta” sideshow with a dash of “Southwest doesn’t do anything wrong either” and some “It’s just pathetic that the FAA even thinks that United and American are airworthy operations” for added spice.

    For the record, Tim likes to dabble in stock and pretend he’s an equity analyst. He doesn’t disclose his longs and shorts even though they clearly influence his thinking. You should assume that there is bias behind every word he types.

    For the record, Tim clearly and severely applies a double standard when it comes to Delta. On Cranky Flier on 8/11/21, after widespread cancellations at American and other airlines, Tim wrote “Consumers, regardless of the price, buy their tickets with the expectation that their flights will be operated and reasonably close to on-time.” Comments — https://crankyflier.com/2021/08/10/spirit-finally-starts-climbing-its-way-out-of-the-doom-spiral/. Yet when Delta cancelled a long list of flights over the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday, Tim wrote “And yet in all of that data analysis you can’t seem to find any evidence of widescale passenger inconvenience, now can you? Airlines don’t exist to move planes. They exist to move passengers.
    If they succeeded at doing that even with their hiccups, then they succeeded at what they are intended to do and did it far better than a zillion other operational issues that don’t draw your attention.” Comments — https://crankyflier.com/2020/12/15/a-closer-look-at-deltas-thanksgiving-meltdown/#comments. Read the posts — The #TimDunnDoubleStandard could not be more obvious. When Delta cancels flights, it’s fine as long as most of their customers get to their destination sometime. But American has an obligation to fly their schedule.

    For the record, Tim’s LinkedIn page says he hasn’t worked for Delta since 1994, so any insight he has is from the same 10-Ks and 10-Qs that the rest of us can read.

    People who find value in Tim’s posts can go read his armchair equity research at Seeking Alpha. For the rest of us — Gary, I’m begging you to stop Tim from trying to run your blog from the comments.

    Tim — reality check — to think that someone didn’t have any access to Delta’s proprietary information after working there for a month is absolutely laughable. Even for you, the statement that “The notion that someone that worked for Delta for one month actually took anything of value is beyond believability” is a shocker. What do you think he did for that month? Just sip lattes in the cafeteria? You want to be respected as a credible airline analyst, yet you type sentences that have absolutely zero credibility. Just stop.

  23. Wow — anyone want to discuss the issue at hand?

    Is it possible that after Delta hired him, they learned that he would not be released from any NDI or non-compete agreement/exception, and he then went to American because JetBlue excepted AA from such restriction(s)?

  24. Scott,
    thank you for discussing the issue at hand which I have tried to transition back to.

    Most people seem to understand that non-disclosure agreements don’t amount to much and may not even be legal – so I doubt that Delta was surprised by anything.

    The most plausible scenario is that Laurence either had vastly different expectations that were quickly shattered, he said or did something that highlighted he wasn’t a fit (such as overscheduling part of DL’s network that would have resulted in the same operational mess that he has done at B6 for years), or DL had no intention of ever giving him any responsibility and just pulled him away from B6 to hurt B6.

    We, of course, will never know the reason and we can all speculate. We just have to couch our speculation as such and not try to paint it as gospel truth.

  25. Hey Jerry,
    just a few tips for you:
    1. You forgot to include that I was the mayor of a city in Georgia. Either it is true or you are as confused as Julie in confusing and conflating concepts and facts that you do not understand. Since the secretary of state of Georgia has no information on me being a mayor, that rumor is as nonsensical as everything else you wrote.
    2. You and Julie both need to get out and off the internet if you think that the profile of anyone is defined by what you can find on the internet.
    3. Gary is interested in page views on his site – which facilitate his abililty to sell credit cards. He and the rest of the aviation bloggers that sell credit cards aren’t interested in arguing if someone else will do it for them. Gary is clearly smarter than you; he had no reason to jump into this argument. He just threw the topic and let every one else run w/ it….just like he does with other topics.

    and

    The bottom line regardless of whatever theory you believe is that Scott Laurence not only no longer has any control over JetBlue’s network but also of any other airline’s.
    Delta succeeded at pulling him away from JetBlue just as the latter airline is preparing its defense of the Northeast Alliance.

    As much as you or anyone else wants to pretend that Delta didn’t shape this story, they got one of B6′ top execs out by making an offer he couldn’t refuse. It doesn’t matter where he goes… he isn’t at B6 anymore.

  26. Tim, you spewed a lot of insults at me, but let me remind you that I linked to your own comments, and I referred to your own LinkedIn profile. It’s up to you if you’re the kind of person that feels better after flinging personal insults around — but my post is based on YOUR OWN WORDS. Readers can make their own judgment. Suggesting that I “get off the internet” seems to be beside the point. And I’m not sure what you being the mayor of a town in Georgia has to do with aviation. Of course, that certainly wouldn’t be the first time you tried to distract with irrelevant information.

    And do you seriously believe that “it doesn’t matter where he goes” with regards to Mr. Laurence? He started with an important competitor, soaked up some internal Delta data, then went to an even bigger competitor — and you consider that a win for Delta? I just don’t follow the logic. Unless Delta figured out that he was a complete idiot in the one month that he worked for them, there’s just no way that this is a win for Delta. #TimDunnDoubleStandard

    But we do agree on one thing. Mr. Leff is indeed much smarter than I am.

  27. No one is confused Tim. You have a documented history on the internet. Don’t deny your past because you’re ashamed of it. It would almost be amusing that you now attempt to deny your time at Delta and getting fired from there now… except that it’s actually sad.

    “You and Julie both need to get out and off the internet ” From the guy that sits on his keyboard and just trolls blogs all day long. Laughable and sad– just like you.

  28. Jerry AND Julie,
    let’s start w/ the fact that I do not participate in LinkedIn which highlights how grossly negligent both of you are in creating a straw man of your own fantasies. Everything else falls apart when even a semi-critical eye can see that one person is arguing that a “Tim Dunn” retired from Delta in 1994 and someone else says he was fired. Seriously, get in a room and figure it all out – but don’t be surprised if someone points out the glaringly obvious errors and yes, Julie, confusion, that you both have made in trying to argue about me.

    And, I don’t really care if you THINK that Laurence took a bunch of personal commercial data from Delta – but you can’t prove it anymore than I can prove he didn’t or Gary can prove that the DOJ is acting at the behest of Delta.

    Desert Ghost accurately noted that there are virtually no commercial secrets. American, JetBlue and Delta ALL know how much revenue and at what yields each other carries on EVERY route. That information is commercially and in many cases publicly available. They all know what corporate contracts each other has. You clearly do not understand the airline industry if you think there is any really valuable information that can be gained and not roughly calculated with outside data. Of course companies secure their internal data systems but the notion that someone would show up from one competitor, load up his files with a bunch of data and then walk out w/ anything valuable is beyond even the hope of being logical.
    But of course that is what you want to believe happened because, just like your opposition of me, you really can’t stand that Delta has demonstrated it can grow amidst JBLU’s scattered strategies.
    If anything, Delta succeeded at pulling Laurence away from JBLU with his hope that he would amount to something big at Delta, he started talking, and it became clear that he doesn’t understand or want to believe the basic strategies that Delta has – including running a far more reliable operation, something JBLU clearly doesn’t care about – which is precisely why Delta does as well as it does in JetBlue competitive markets. Many people simply don’t want to take the risk of having flights delayed for hours because B6 can’t schedule within the resources it has.

    Take the weekend off of the internet, write down the “facts” that you think you believe, and honestly ask yourself why you can’t see the glaring contrasts and falsehoods that others can see – but you cannot.

  29. Again, thanks for the laugh with this last post. The inside of your mind must be a fascinating and very empty space.

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