Is An American & Gol Partnership Imminent?

Filed Under: American, Other Airlines

This is of course totally predictable and expected, but interesting to note nonetheless… in particular the alleged timeline.

American Allegedly In Talks With Gol

American Airlines and Gol are allegedly in the process of negotiating a partnership that could lead to closer cooperation between the two airlines. This is according to Brazil’s Valor Economico, which cites sources familiar with the matter.

The airlines allegedly entered discussions in September, on the same date that Delta bought a stake in LATAM. Hah!!

For those of you not familiar with Gol, they’re a Brazilian airline that is more or less a low cost carrier (there’s debate as to whether or not they are — their cost structure isn’t that low, they do have some lounges, but they don’t have a proper business class).

The airline has a fleet of over 120 737s, and primarily operates them on flights within Brazil, and to nearby countries (though they also have some longer flights, like from Northern Brazil to Florida).

So while they will give American some connectivity beyond the major gateways, they’re far from being a global airline.

This Follows Delta Dumping Gol, Stealing LATAM From American

All of this comes as Delta announced that they’d purchase a 20% stake in LATAM, which came out of left field.

Historically LATAM has been in oneworld and was pursuing a joint venture with American. With the announcement of Delta’s investment, it was also revealed that LATAM would leave oneworld and would form a joint venture with Delta.

Also keep in mind that Delta had a close partnership with Gol and even had an equity stake in them. They had formed a partnership in 2011 and owned 3%. However, they decided to drop that when they hooked up with LATAM.

Bottom Line

At this point American needs a partner in Latin America, and Gol needs a global partner, so I think this partnership is pretty close to being a sure bet. That being said, Gol most definitely doesn’t add as much value for American flyers as LATAM did.

On some level you have to find humor in all of this. Delta steals LATAM and dumps Gol, and then American pursues Gol.

I could see Gol being added as a oneworld Connect member, in an attempt to fill the void left by LATAM. Then again, it’s not like there would be nearly as much value to frequent flyers…

What do you think — is an American & Gol partnership inevitable?

Comments
  1. I think Gol is more like a Southwest style low-cost airline, rather than a Spirit style low-cost airline.

    AA doesn’t have much choice.

    The 2018 Brazil marketshare was:

    Gol Linhas Aéreas: 35.7%;
    LATAM Airlines Brazil: 31.9%;
    Azul Linhas Aereas: 18.6%;
    Avianca Brazil: 13.4%.

    Avianca is gone. So it’s either Azul or Gol. Azul is a better airline, but theyre the equivalent of Jetblue (same founder!)

  2. Unless AA buys a HUGE stake in Gol, they won’t join oneworld. As of two months ago, both Delta and AF-KLM partially owned Gol, and they said repeatedly that they wouldn’t join Skyteam.

  3. GoL is useless to me as a business traveler. I am NOT coming off an AA flight in J and switching to a low cost carrier Y class product. Just not going to happen.

  4. @Ryan

    You and all the other whining people are completely glossing over the fact that LATAM does not have business class on narrowbodies either. Functionally, there is no difference between G3 and LA on short/medium haul routes. G3 has a better domestic Brazilian network but it is a loss in the other South American countries

  5. I’ve flown Gol a fair amount – not by choice – but they definitely trend towards the vernacular LCC category given that LCC means “discount” (read: Spirit/Frontier) these days. Agree with @JJJJJ, though, that they are probably better aligned with WN if we had to draw parallels. That said, I found their lounge situation at GRU pretty decent. It wasn’t a Polaris Lounge, of course, but it’s a perfectly pleasant way to pass two hours or so. The sandwiches and sweets are tasty, the non-alcoholic drink spread was good, the alcohol samplings were “meh” but doable, and they have ample seating and the WiFi was fine. Like @Ryan, though – it’s going to be a rude awakening for travellers coming off an AA J flight. All said, I’d totally fly with them again – and would encourage others to do so – since I have managed my expectations.

  6. I am a Brazilian who flies frequently from MIA and JFK to GRU. Latam leaving oneworld is a huge loss not because of its product in Brazil as it is virtually the same as GOL, but because I could use AAdvantage miles much easier – both in economy and business – in Latam flights than in AA flights.

    There is no business class flights in local flights in Brazil, not even the European business: middle blocked seat.

  7. @JJJJJ United Airlines already is partnered with Azul so unless American wanted to steal that, there only option would be GOL.

    @Ryan Domestically, LATAM didn’t have a business class product. It was all economy and it was worse than Gol’s. Gol offers more legroom than LATAM, Gol offers free beverages and snacks on domestic flights, LATAM doesn’t. On international flights (e.g. to Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, etc.) , GOL has a European style business class

    LATAM was terrible for the passenger

  8. And Air France KLM still have a share of GOL and are maintaining their agreement with them. Virgin will also partner with GOL
    It remains to see whether AF KL decide to partner with LATAM once they’ve settled with Delta over the next 2-3 years

  9. Things come full circle. AA ended their partnership with GOL in 2012 right after Delta bought a stake. You could earn RDM and redeem miles in AAdvantage up until that point, if I remember correctly.

  10. I’m certain that losing LATAM is no good for AA’s bottom line, but*, getting rid of all the LATAM elites in our flagship lounge and centurion lounges at MIA and JFK will be quite welcome. It’s enough with AA, BA, and IB flyers out of MIA terminal D/E, but i suspect the LATAM flyers were the biggest population outside AAdvantage flyers. Also, less emeralds competing for seats on AA flights. It’s a win for us (I think). Besides, LATAM’s J fares are super high and never have good sales.

  11. @Neil – I’ve always thought “European-style business class” was a bit of a contradiction in terms… 🙂

    And Azul not only has codesharing with UA, they do with JetBlue as well. This could be important if B6 uses the longer-range A321neos on order to go further south in Latin America as well as to open transatlantic service.

  12. You guys say that this won’t be good for FF. For “who” actually? Are you guys aware that other that you there are other people that use American?

    And another point: Latam does not offer business class seats domestically. Either in Brazil, Chile, Argentina or Peru..

  13. Never been a Fan of LATAM…..GOL is fine for intra Brazil flying. Hopefully All of Oneworld dumps LATAM codeshares over their selfish minded, conniving ways and I hope Delta takes a major loss with this back room deal. I believe LATAM is in trouble and struggling.

  14. To fly domestically in Brazil GOL has a much better product than LATAM. To be honest flying on LATAM A320 series aircraft is not a good experience in terms of confort and on board service (none service even if you came from a business class flight within the same airline!). In my opinion, as a brazilian that flies regulary, GOL is very nice followed close by AZUL and LATAM is on the very bottom.

  15. I regularly fly all the Brazilian domestic airlines. Overall my favorite is Gol, mainly because until recently if you had status, you had lounge access which was pretty descent, and got automatic upgrades to their equivalent of US economy comfort. Their service and planes is better than LATAM domestic. Azul offers great service (and has gorgeous flight attendants), but no lounge, but their service is perhaps the best within Brazil. As a Delta traveler, within Brazil I’d rather take Gol over LATAM any day. Avianca was just average at best. The comparison of Gol to Southwest is actually pretty accurate. They are a discount airline, but one of the best, offer very good service and fly newer planes on competitive routes within Brazil.

  16. You guys act like LATAM’s product was far superior than Gol in terms of flights in Brazil/South America. LATAM also doesnt have a business class in the country, no airline here does, its either economy or premium economy, and EVEN THEN GOL is faaaaaaaaarrrrrr superior than LATAM. so for the likes of @Ryan whining about getting on a Gol flight from an AA, it’s not like LATAM was any better. Theyre all the same, but GOL is actually highly regarded domestically. LATAM doesnt have a good reputation down here in Brazil, FYI……

    That being said, AZUL is the best airline in Brazil (its JetBlue’s little brother, same founder). Lucky i cant wait to see you review it to FLL on your journey back from Africa!

  17. Reading the post above one could think AA is the cherry on the cake. GOL is far superior to AA, AA is only big and had a enourmous network. Aside from that I don´t like flying on them mostly due to the rudeness of their FAs.

  18. @Sergio I guarantee LATAM elites are not the ones to blame for the overcrowded Centurion Lounge at MIA, and probably aren’t to blame for any overcrowding at the Flagship Lounges either. LATAM departs from Concourse J, the opposite end of the airport from Concourse D (where the Centurion/Flagship lounges are).

  19. I reckon Qantas should take the opportunity to fly direct to São Paulo from Melbourne and Sydney and link up with Gol for domestic flights within Brazil. Australians are more interested in going to Brazil and Brazilians love going to Australia to work and study. It would be a monopoly since no other airline has direct Aus to Brazil yet.

  20. Loving all the people who imagine that they “lose” when connecting to GOL from American. Folks, there is no domestic business class on ANY carrier in Brazil. They are all LCC style for domestic. If you are connecting from American you get the same with LATAM, GOL, and Azul. As well none offer clubs in the domestic terminals.

    The only thing we lose is LATAM business class from the U.S. which is mediocre at best and completely impossible to ever redeem for an award.

  21. Would anyone care to speculate about how an AA-GOL teamup might affect GOL’s frequent flyer program Smiles? Smiles access to partner business class is very spotty, but when it’s there, it’s reasonable. For instance, when they’re available, I see DL international flights on GOL for fewer miles than on DL — which isn’t saying much, of course. I would be delighted to see Smiles offering business-class or first-class seats on OneWorld carriers.

  22. @Ryan

    There are not that many. All of the intra-South America widebody flights are either:

    a) between LATAM’s hubs – all of which have extensive AA service so why would you need to connect to an LA flight?
    b) Flying GRU-Secondary Brazilian City-MIA. The domestic segments of these flights still don’t sell a business class, they just allow elites to select seats in the business cabin on a space available basis at check-in. No guarantee you would be able to sit there, even on C-class ticket.

    G3 is really not a step down.

  23. Interesting comments.

    Perhaps at first I thought ruinous for AA, but maybe not. Gol appears to have a great Brazil network, though can’t replace LATAM in Argentina, Chile, Peru or Colombia.

    As for service, agree that LATAM domestic is third rate. Have flown Azul, and they are great…and now look forward to flying Gol.

    Though, darn, will miss LATAM’s Z Business Class airfare from MIA to JNB via SAO.

  24. There is absolutely no difference in service standards between Latam and Gol in Brazil domestic flights. I actually find GOL to have a better product, with its domestic lounges

  25. As I agree that there is no difference between G3 and LA speaking of domestic product, form a network perspective AA and OneWorld, lost a huge footprint in South America that G3 won’t be able to replace, South America is more than Brazil. Despite having non-stops from MIA to most capitals, AA and OW will hardly have any domestic feeding in Argentina, Chile (they loose Patagonia in both countries), Peru (they lose Cuzco), Ecuador (not a big loss, maybe Galapagos) and Colombia (pretty well covered), that will hardly recover with any other partnership.

  26. Another article to cheer Delta & Latam Partnership. To be honest I prefer Gol anytime above Latam 3rd rate Y and C class . AA will gain as Gol will fill up their planes from south America. Soon AA will establish network with GOL and guarantee that 1world members will pull plug from LAT . AA gonna be the winner !!

  27. Is GOL only in Brazil or do they fly to other countries just not as extensive as LATAM? It seems heavily concentrated in Brazil. Not sure why they would have met with Avianca about possibly investing in them and pulling them out of the gutter and steal them from star alliance. Doesn’t seem their style though but as for network and such it would be more extensive.

    I chuckled to myself when I read in the comment their FF program is called smiles.

  28. Gol has flights from Brasil to Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Santiago, Quito, Lima, Punta del Este, Rosário, cordoba, Santa Cruz de la sierra, punta cana, Orlando and Miami. Network not as big as Latam’s.

  29. I reckon for Chile they could partner up with a carrier called Sky Airlines. That could cover Chile domestic flights and for Argentina they could try and poach Aerolineas Argentinas away from Skyteam.

  30. @Roger… Excatly! LATAM was/is in huge economics problems. Their routes are lacking $$.
    They coudn’t handle it since a long time. They manged it the worst way…cutting FF benefits and charging almost for the air you breath.

    So DL saw that situation and offers money (what LATAM was needing of) then once inside DL can struggle more LATAM and once on their knees they will steal their routes.
    Probably LATAM will disappear in a future…unless DL wants to keep them alive.

    This AA-G3 it’s a great option for GOL FF. We celebrate it.
    But don’t think Gol doesn’t have tons of passangers with elite status. We are talking about the airline with most passangers in Brazil.
    They will hoard the AA lounges much more than LA passangers,

  31. @Phil I reckon thats coming soon. that would be a blessing not having to connect in Chile. Australia and Brazil UNITE! 🙂

  32. GOL will take American Airlines to higher ground. Excellent airline from pricing to comfort. Will fly American Airlines more if theY merge will GOL. It’s a win-win for both airlines. Gooooaaaaaalllllll!

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