American Airlines Is Acting Like A Bitter Ex (Story Updated)

Filed Under: American, LATAM

Update: Here’s the latest from American about their relationship with LATAM.

While the system initially showed the below, American claims they didn’t do this, though inventory still shows “zeroed” out. That raises a lot of questions as to how this all happened, and what exactly is going on. While Sabre shows American was blocking LATAM, Amadeus suggests that LATAM was blocking American.

So we’ll have to see how this unfolds. Whatever is going on is very, very strange.


American just did what’s possibly the cattiest thing that we’ve ever seen done in the airline industry (and this includes Qatar Airways flying to Atlanta to “rub salt in the wound” of Delta, and also includes Delta trying to gate-block Qatar Airways in Atlanta).

Delta’s LATAM Investment

Yesterday it was announced that Delta is buying a 20% stake in LATAM, and will form a joint venture with them. This is a massive development, since American and LATAM had been pursuing a joint venture, but were facing regulatory challenges.

This also means that LATAM will cut ties with American, and LATAM will leave the oneworld alliance.

What American Said…

Following this news, American tried to act the way anyone acts publicly when they just got dumped. They said that they understood LATAM’s decision, and they also said that during the transition period they’d work with LATAM to ensure a seamless experience for customers.

American promised a “seamless transition”

Sounds great, right?

What American Is Doing…

As noted by the incredibly knowledgable Cranky Flier, American just made an insane policy change. First let’s look at how it’s written in “code,” and then I’ll explain:

LA-045 LATAM AIRLINES GROUP
CANNOT ISSUE TKT-NO AGREEMENT ON FILE
AA-001 AMERICAN AIRLINES/AMERICAN AIRLINES, INC.
CANNOT CHECK BAGGAGE NO AGREEMENT ON FILE

What Does This Mean? With this update, effective immediately:

  • American Airlines will no longer allow LATAM to issue tickets for travel on American; so all LATAM codeshare flights operated by American now show as “zeroed” out (for example, you can no longer book a Santiago to Miami to Tampa flight through LATAM, with travel from Miami to Tampa on American)
  • American Airlines will no longer accept bags that were checked through on LATAM itineraries, even if you’re on a single ticket that involves travel on both airlines

American just pulled all LATAM inventory

Um, wow. That is literally the least seamless transition one could imagine.

How Is This Even Possible?

This raises some logistical questions:

  • Who at American thought this was a good idea at all?
  • How does this even work? LATAM is still a oneworld member airline for now, but at this point you can’t even book an American segment on a LATAM ticket, or check a bag through when flying two airlines belonging to the same alliance on one ticket?

I assume this was intentional and not an error. If that is in fact the case, I wonder if this decision was actually thought through on a high level at American, or if some angry, overzealous middle manager pulled the plug on this, and decided this somehow made sense.

Comments
  1. I was expecting something like decreased mileage earning rates for for the future bookings but stopping baggage interlining for existing reservations is just childish.

  2. Out of curiosity, how do we know it was aa related? There are reports that aa flights were already taken off the LATAM website

  3. Ate you saying that people on a ticket bought two months ago for December on AA metal, connecting to a LATAM flight now have to retrieve their checked bags at the point where they disembark the AA flight?

    I honestly think someone at AA is going to lose a job over this.

    Unless of course this was a Doug Parker decision…

  4. @ TravelinWilly — As of now this policy is only on American’s end and not on LATAM’s end. So yes, the way it’s written it would seem that it would apply even for previously booked tickets. What this would mean is if you’re flying LATAM from Santiago to Buenos Aires and then American from Buenos Aires to Miami, you’d have to claim your bags in Buenos Aires.

  5. @ Jeff — Because so far this policy change has only been made on American’s end. American is no longer letting their flights be booked on LATAM itineraries, while the inverse isn’t true.

  6. How is this different from all the hostile anti customer behavior they demonstrate almost each & every day?Policies program rules etc
    American business as usual

  7. You need to get a grip. A close partner blindsided their company. Why should t they retaliate? If LATAM valued AA as a partner, then I think things would have been handled differently.

    You’re acting like a scorned ex, and very caddy with your tone lately.

  8. Given that your source just came out and said AA confirmed it was not on their end. Are you going to to walk this back? I know you’ll jump on any opportunity to bash AA.

  9. Cranky reports American said “they didn’t do this.”

    Zeroing out inventory though seems certainly something that was done on their side and is going to make *changing* itineraries a problem.

    I cannot see how they’d be able to decline through-checked bags,

  10. What’s the verdict on honoring LATAM oneworld status on AA? I was hoping to get one last Flagship lounge visit in at Chicago with my LATAM visit mid-October.

  11. Lucky, instead of hastily jumping on a chance to continue your personal crusade against American (destroying any credibility you have to help me make points program decisions), either dig down to the facts or let the facts come out and then post them.

  12. Don’t worry, the stable genius of Doug Parker will strike back with the incredible announcement that they are now investing in Boliviana and AeroSur Paraguay.

  13. Lucky, does this mean Delta May ramp up operations at MIA being that they have another joint venture partner there ?

  14. Doesn’t American care about customers? It’s already so ridiculous and nearly impossible to book reward miles without so many, many grayed out potential flights, or seeing so many flights which ARE available with tons of connections, which take you backwards and forwards on your desired destinations! Now it’s holding baggage hostage!

  15. If AA wants to get back at LATAM without screwing its customers, it can immediately restart all of the many flights that it ceded to LATAM or ended to put traffic onto the erstwhile joint venture. JFK-GIG, MIA-SAL, DFW-GIG, MIA-SSA/CGH, bring back the second MIA-GIG and JFK-GRU, etc. Average fares for example on JFK-GIG in December are roughly $1750-$2000 in Y! Time to make some money instead of sitting on your asses and waiting for LATAM to send checks.

  16. Oh well .. too bad … I think we can all agree that AA and all of OW was blindsided…. they’re the largest airline in the world .. as are many of the others in OW…they can do what they want

  17. The statement from LATAM and OneWorld talked about LATAM leaving “in due course in accordance with contractural arrangements”.

    I believe that the standard OneWorld memberships terms requires a one year notice period, although this can be waived or reduced if the other members agree.

    So in theory most things should stay the same for the next year – although codeshares can be outwith the scope of OneWorld agreements.

  18. At this point as a lowly Lifetime Platinum who’s thrown in the towel on most AA travel and switched to Delta for 100k miles a year and ~10k in spend, I’d like to see Delta do their thing and just bury American in Miami to teach them a lesson once and for all that they need to stop the US Airways squad’s commitment to generally sucking and also retreating from markets

    Aside from that, I assume that this means GOL and American get married again (weren’t they together at some point?) which will be totally fine for short haul flights. Downsides would probably be American charging 105K for “business” on GOL and maybe moving terminals at GRU so we can experience the wonders of the GOL international lounge.

    Blah, blah, and blah.

    What dip is calling the shots at American? And how did they let LATAM slip away?

  19. What I’m hearing from LATAM employees:
    -American is not allowing the emission of boarding passes for passengers that have flights operated by American and sold by LATAM. Of course bags can’t go through either.
    – This is creating a big problems for LATAM flyers that are arriving at LATAM hubs in the US and can’t continue to their final destinations.
    – The emission of new tickets in AA metal, sold by LATAM, is not possible since today (either with money or miles). This is American’s doing.
    – Delta and Westjet are helping LATAM with emergency flights out of Miami and Toronto to move stranded passengers to their final destinations in or out of North America.
    – LATAM already started the operation to move from JFK T8 to JFK T4. Delta is happily helping.
    – LATAM is adding more flights to JFK and LAX from their South America hubs, mainly Santiago and Lima.

    I’ll keep posted with what I hear

  20. Seems to be AA has been run with middle management mentality from the beginning since this merger.

    AA has acted like deltas little b** for years so why are we surprised they act like a petulant red headed step child with this. They just got kicked in the nuts.

    Bastian is a genius compared to the idiots at AA (not just Parker). When you can’t compete what do you do? Kick and scream and throw shit at people. So how is this any different. I wouldn’t expect anything less from AA.

    Like I said before. I truly think the board had a rave with hookers that Parker caught on film. No other rationale reason to keep that idiot. You have to live under a rock to know the perception of AA is garbage. And just turning a profit is not a sound reason for keeping an imbecile in the office.

  21. @travis – I agree. They have actually had to work at Seattle with Alaskan. AA would fold like a bad bottom in Miami if delta came calling.

    I really think Parker has an inferiority complex.

  22. Latam has obviously figured out that AA is headed to bankruptcy court and doesn’t want to go along. AA lead by a drunk. Dah

  23. As a 21 year employee of AA all I can say is Welcome to Our World!!
    I think on the daily it can’t get any worse..then the management proves me wrong

  24. American Airlines is THE WORST carrier in North America! They reap what they sow……terrible service from the ground up. No pun intended. Tell me how as an Executive Platinum member (me) wound up spending and extra $185 yesterday because the EP desk would not confirm me on the same routing/same day via DFW to PSP because my “layover” was more than 4 hours. Even talking to a “useless” supervisor did NOTHING. How I wish Delta were an option in Chicago!

  25. This whole DL-AA thing is hilarious. First DL convince AA that QR and EY are mortal enemies and they must focus all their energies on breaking off relations / going to war. Meanwhile DL are busy picking their pockets by taking LATAM. Classic sleight of hand.

    Someday AA will wake up and wonder where it all went wrong.

  26. @phil – you’re about 24 months too late for that. AA has taken a nose dive at 30k feet and Bastian made sure that they were nut tapped at 10k before baking their final descent.

  27. American is the world’s largest airline. American stock is a buy and hold. Thank Doug Parker 10 yrs from now.

  28. Not surprising. These assclowns dont know how to run an airline that actually takes care of their customers.

  29. I wonder if United would have had the nuts to nuke their award chart if AA weren’t out there making them look good.

  30. Does this mean that you’ll stop pimping AA credit cards and misrepresenting the value of Executive Platinum status?

  31. If you’re basing your article off Cranky tweets, as you said you were, then you should remove your unfounded article. Doesn’t seem like even cranky agrees with your article any more

    Must be nice writing articles with no facts to back it up

  32. Doug Parker has to go. Really he has done nothing for the airline, nothing. All changes are bad.
    Also, I had a similar issue a couple weeks ago. I was traveling BSB-GRU-MIA on LATAM and then American. They told me I could not check my bags all the way and I had to claim them at GRU. Makes no sense at all! It added an extra 2 hours and I almost missed my flight!

  33. I don’t see here anything about letting people know how LATAM used to kick off their flights passengers with AA ticket stock just to reacomm their owns. How AA had to deal with LATAM angry clients just because they wouldn’t help them, NEVER. So they’ll have to learn to deal with their own customers now. They don’t have AA help anymore. Let’s see how they deal with that.

  34. This will really backfire on AA.

    LATAM is still a member of Oneworld and the agreement with Delta has to undergo regulatory approval

    If the airline had ceased operations then it’s a different matter. The ticketing airline would be responsible to rebook /reroute their passengers

    If a passenger has an AA ticket or for that matter an LA one, Delta cannot touch it and it’s unlikely they would even have access to the reservation

    AA is acting as if the agreement with DL happened suddenly and LA has received all the approvals necessary within a couple of hours of the newsflash

    If LA has kept its interline agreement with AA then it’s upto is them to reroute /rebook

  35. Happened to us today. My Inbound flight GRU to LAX via DFW(all on AA) ticketed by LATAM needed involuntary modification due to Flight schedule changes. The LATAM agent tried to move my tickets to another AA flight(GRU to LAX direct) and was not successful. In the process, he lost my original flight and had to rebook me on GRU->SLT->LAX(All LATAM). Will AA will still keep my outbound flight(LAX->GRU)? It is shame that AA is putting its long-time travelers through this pain.

  36. AA is a disaster , immature move. But it matches their poor attitude to just about anything. It seems them forget they are in the business of service and transitioning to a mure mobility company that doesn’t give a damn . Even as OW carriers, unless on a single ticket then you may as well have been flying their worst enemy . OW has gone to s*** , they don’t have tight enough minimum standards across carriers for seamless travel experience. It’s like the un-alliance. Shortsighted to not understand that people choose to align themselves often by travel experience in addition to the loyalty. Lazy ways of working. IATA should step in and have mandatory requirements for through check luggage on any carrier with an interline. If it’s down to tech, then build better tech.

  37. “If AA wants to get back at LATAM without screwing its customers, it can immediately restart all of the many flights that it ceded to LATAM or ended to put traffic onto the erstwhile joint venture. JFK-GIG, MIA-SAL, DFW-GIG, MIA-SSA/CGH, bring back the second MIA-GIG and JFK-GRU, etc. ”

    +1 This is what I would do if I were CEO of AA.

  38. This ounds to me like LH‘s behaviour against fellow alliance member TK. Very much a kindergarten like pattern at senior management level, in both cases.

  39. The baggage issue didn’t start now. When I went to Peru a couple years ago AA didn’t bring my bag to my LATAM flight. So no bag in Peru. Many calls to them and several visits with many other passengers in Lima to the baggage office revealed AA regularly did this. If the bag didn’t make it onto the original flight for some reason AA refused to give it to LATAM and LATAM refused to go get it. They admitted this was a distance of about twenty feet in JFK from one baggage office to the other. But Lima LATAM agents were exceedingly familiar with this issue. One AA supervisor said once a passenger was on a LATAM flight is was not their problem, even when booked as an AA flight. I’ve flown a lot of codeshares.

  40. So, I clicked onto this article from finance.google.com … which seems very interesting, if only the author would tell us what LATAM even stands for?

    While I notice this is onemileatatime.com website, I feel I’m not in a minority here.

  41. When booking any code share, it is best to remember that it is a promise and only as good as the parties making it. In many cases, neither party wants to take responsibility for fulfilling the promise when things go awry.

    On a side note, Parker seems to be the Trump of the US airline industry.

  42. What I find INTERESTING is Everyone is so eager to defend Latam and crucify AA with whatever went on behind the Scene. AA attempted to create a JV with Latam which hit a Roadblock not once but twice. Qatar Airways held Ownership in Latam and that didn’t prevent Them from looking elsewhere. IAG (British and Iberia) attempted a JV and that went No Where. LAN was one of the Earliest Members of the ONEWORLD Alliance and Now Announces they will Exit OW…..something doesn’t exactly ADD Up here. Maybe the Core ONEWORLD Carriers didn’t want to Infuse Money into Latam and felt “You want to Leave, Leave….No One will Really Miss You Anyways. Your Membership is Negligible” Time will Tell….lots to the Story that has not been told. I highly doubt Delta pulled some Rabbit out of the Hat as being reported.

  43. Been working at AA for over 32 years and it is horrible at how it is falling apart. Discount Doug has destroyed this company from so many angles that nothing surprises me. It is such a HUGE mess and incredibly sad.

  44. @Max. Which emergency flights are Westjet and DL operating ? LATAM hasn’t changed terminals at JFK
    LA is still operating so why would DL operate additional flights ?
    Please provide your source and details of these flights ?

  45. This is incredible – how can one now ever trust AA with international travel and tickets? How can you rely on them as your travel partner? I have been exec plt for 15 years and i will think twice now before i book any overseas travel with them. It is utterly incomprehensible that management’s incompetence is taken on the passengers, who are the last ones to blame for this. I would personally shame them and sue for a breach of contract.

  46. So, according to your update, “whatever it is going on…” , your article is once again biased against American Airlines and very misleading.‍♂️

  47. I resonate with @roger’s thoughts… I also think things are not as straightforward as they appear. It is interesting to note that Cueto said they will proceed with their JV with IAG (carving out Chile) and partnership with Qantas. If they were okay with carving Chile out of their European JV, why were they not okay with doing the same with AA? Something doesn’t make sense… Even AA/LATAM pulling back their JV application after having it approved in all the other countries looked odd…

  48. @AL, This modification was to get AA216 Flight(GRU->LAX direct) in Jan2020. Small correction.. LATAM now booked me on GRU->SCL->LAX. Not SLT

  49. I’m not doubting any of this is happening, BUT, doesn’t LATAM and AA have COO’s? A district manager, someone who is on call to straighten out these things? Don’t tell me it’s up to the front line agents to sort this out? These companies need management to be mature about these things and get on the phone and talk to each other. It might be not AA’s problem…..

  50. It would be very interesting to discover who some/many posters are in real life. I’m far from an American apologist, however it is plain as day to recognize that no opportunity is missed to sling mud on them Immediately convicted of guilt. Despicable.

  51. I pay extra to avoid the hassles of flying with AA…Usually $30 – $40 …and I usually end up with a shorter, much more relaxing trip…(if)You fly AA you risk experiencing one of the many many crazy things they do….they have been in the news enough…. you get what you get if you continue to fly with them

  52. When is this Parker fool going to be put out to pasture? It’s baffling that’s he’s been able to stay in the job as long as he has.

  53. The only thing holding AA together is and has always been it’s amazing talented employees NOT the majority of their Ft. “Worth Nothing” managers. As a 3+ year employee my head is spinning from the gross mismanagement at the hands of pompous executives…the daily backslide from the huge success post merger is frightening. I hope that whomever the board replaces Doug with will spot all the inefectual execs and hand them their long overdue pink slips… that’s our only hope. The big miss is that Doug didn’t take the initial opportunity to clean out the Texas turds that screwed AA up the first time.

  54. I just used my remaining AAdvantage miles for a “free” trip to San Diego. Employee morale is down the tubes, planes are not clean, and the whole operation seems like “uh, do we HAVE to operate this flight?”
    I hope Parker gets sacked at the next stockholder’s meeting.
    As for LATAM, they’re nothing short of FABULOUS! Actually, LATAM has the same operating philosophy as it’s mentor of long ago: PANAM. The consumer is paramount! It deserves to be in Delta’s company.

  55. In India western tourists are always hold in high esteem. American Airlines is most likely the worst airline in world, it treats young and old domestic or international tourists very badly. Public outcry in social networking, news comments in majority make complaints of their bad behaviour. Can anyone imagine that AA Customer Relations can keep a customer’s call on hold for over two and a half hours. Quite a few years ago BBC Watchdog surveyed about keeping customer’s call on hold in UK. Maximum call hold up found to be of forty-five minutes, but in USA, AA has broken this record. This call hold up has snatched away our initial offer of flight tickets on cancellation of flight for bad weather, YTLJNF, LAX>DFW, we have to spend sleepless night unnecessarily as our flight tickets were allotted in stand-by mode.
    AA isn’t ready to take the responsibility, rather it says that they have done the right thing. Such carelessness is just beyond comprehension. It’s breach of trust and ethics. Weak regulation allow them to anything they want. Rule of law has no meaning.

  56. I have a business class ticket on Latam from JFK to Buenos Aires via Santiago departing at the end of November and returning at the end of March. I credited the frequent flyer miles to American Airliones. Wondering if I can change it to Delta. Anybody know?

  57. LATAM has nice lounges but as soon as you line up at the gate the experience takes a horrible tumble. I have flown LATAM with in South America often, planes are old, beverage service is cheap, even the gates they use suck. On top of this I find the service at the ticket counter poor. A few times I have missed a connection and it is so PAINFUL to get rebooked… very sloppy operation.

    I prefer American Airlines over LATAM in the air and at the ticket counter, but prefer LATAM lounges over American. I have had nothing but good to FABULOUS service on American Airlines.. but then I only fly business and first class.

  58. The information on AA is completely incorrect. AA has not pulled any ticketing agreement, and is still actively selling codeshare flights operated by LATAM. Please fact check yourself before publishing nothing but garbage lies.

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