Larger Airlines Pair with Smaller Regional Airlines

Within the past week, two major U.S. airlines announced plans to partner with smaller regional airlines, a move that gives customers more destinations to chose from and allows passengers to use the booking engines of the major carriers for bookings on the smaller airlines.


Eagle

Who’s partnering with who? American Airlines and JetBlue Airways said Wednesday that they have formed a partnership to offer passengers connections to flights in and out of New York and Boston.

On Monday, Massachusetts based Cape Air said it will “strengthen its new Midwest operation” with the launch of their new partnership with American Airlines. On April 6, 2010, passengers will be able to use American Airlines tickets to fly between St. Louis and Cape Girardeau, MO, Quincy, IL, and Marion, IL when connecting with an American Airlines flight at St. Louis. Passengers will be able to earn AAdvantage miles on Cape Air flights.

Our new Midwest operation is already a proven success and this partnership with American Airlines is the perfect complement to our frequent, convenient and reliable service in the region,” said Cape Air President Dan Wolf in a press release.

Just a few days before the American Airlines / Cape Air announcement, Alaska Airlines announced that Kenmore Air would be their newest partner in Alaska’s Mileage Plan program. Like the Cape Air and American Airlines code-share, Kenmore and Alaska will be ticketing partners and passengers can earn miles on Kenmore segments.

Kenmore Air, based in Kenmore, WA, provides seaplane service (and airport to airport service) to a variety of destinations throughout western Washington and southwestern British Columbia.

To kick off the partnership, Kenmore is awarding double miles from April 15 through May 31 — a 500 mile bonus for each Kenmore segment. A good move? Absolutely. Larger regional airlines, like Alaska Airlines’s Horizon Air and American’s Eagle / Connection, fly aircraft that are too large for the markets that Kenmore and Cape Air serve. Cape Air, which flies mostly 9-seat Cessna 402s, and Kenmore Air, who flies a variety of small airplanes with 5-14 seats, have the capability to provide service to unique markets. The new code-share agreements increases the number of options available for travelers and rewards them in mileage programs — a win-win.