Delta & LATAM To Start Codesharing In Early 2020

Filed Under: Delta, LATAM

In late September it was announced that Delta would be buying a 20% stake in LATAM, and that the two airlines would be forming a joint venture. Well, the first step towards cooperation between the two airlines has now been revealed.

Delta & LATAM Will Start Codesharing

It has just been announced that Delta and LATAM will begin codesharing in the first quarter of 2020. It’s expected that initially Delta will be codesharing with LATAM affiliates in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, pending government approval.

This codeshare agreement will offer customers increased connectivity between up to 74 onward destinations in the United States (courtesy of Delta) and up to 51 onward destinations in South America (courtesy of LATAM).

Delta then expects to further expand codeshare opportunities to include more destinations, presumably including LATAM affiliates in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile.

While nothing has been announced yet, Delta and LATAM are also working towards introducing frequent flyer program reciprocity, as well was reciprocal lounge access.

Delta will soon codeshare with LATAM

What’s Is Codesharing?

Codesharing is a fairly basic level of cooperation between airlines, though not the most basic.

When it comes to cooperation between airlines you have interlining on one end of the spectrum, and then you have a joint venture on the other end of the spectrum. Codesharing is somewhere in the middle.

With a codeshare agreement you’ll see an airline putting their flight number on another airline’s flight. For example, when Delta starts codesharing with LATAM it’s likely that you’ll be able to book a ticket all way to Cuzco through Delta, with the Atlanta to Lima flight on Delta, and the Lima to Cuzco flight on LATAM, with a Delta flight number.

While codesharing is a step in the right direction, ultimately codesharing doesn’t guarantee reciprocal frequent flyer mileage, elite benefits, lounge access, etc. We know that Delta is working on this, though we don’t know for sure if this will be implemented by the time the codeshare agreement is introduced.

Delta and LATAM should eventually offer reciprocal lounge access

American & LATAM Will Stop Codesharing

The reason Delta’s investment in LATAM came as such a big surprise is because LATAM is currently in oneworld, and they were actively pursuing a joint venture with American.

We already know that LATAM plans to leave oneworld as of October 2020, which I imagine is the minimum notice they were required to give to leave the alliance.

American and LATAM have already scaled back their codesharing, but the two airlines plan to completely discontinue codesharing as of January 31, 2020. That’s a pretty big development for American.

American will stop codesharing with LATAM

Bottom Line

Delta and LATAM will start codesharing as of early 2020, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise. This whole thing is going to be an interesting thing to watch unfold — I’m curious about the pace at which the partnership is rolled out, what kind of expansion we see (both from Delta to Miami and Latin America, and from LATAM to Delta hubs), etc.

There are lots of parties potentially impacted by all of this

  1. Below the picture of the American plane, you have written: Delta will stop codesharing with LATAM. That should be ‘American will stop…’.

  2. This is will put Delta in Latin America big time. Delta has very few options to fly to Latin America and almost all of them goes through ATL. I am trying to get to Montevideo, Uruguay for example and it is a nightmare if I want to stick with Skyteam. Latam has nice planes and flies from some US hubs that Delta does not fly to Latin America.

  3. Is there a reason they’re going to code share and have reciprocal benefits but not join SkyTeam? Delta has been pretty vocal about SkyTeam needing to improve it’s network & quality, and adding LATAM (and potentially Virgin & WestJet), would do wonders for it.

  4. This is huge. You cannot underestimate the immense loss for One world. Without Latam in Latin America you are nothing for second markets. If you fly from the US to second markets in Latin American (Brasilia, Cuzco, Medellin, etc) you will have to get separate tickets if you are a One World flyer.

  5. I am keen to see Aerolineas Argentinas reaction to their main US partner forging a partnership with their arch rival in Latin America. Could oneworld carriers maybe try get them on side? Could they try and get Gol as a Oneworld Connect member for feed into Brazil?

  6. @Phil: yes, because Delta flyers want to connect with Aerolineas Argentinas and fly on old planes with recliner seats on business class and having a fax machine at their disposal. I am trying to get from the US to Montevideo on Skyteam and the best option is to fly out of Miami 10 hours on a recliner seat on Aerolineas for $9k. No tks!!!

  7. It is indeed interesting how this whole mess that LATAM has landed in is being masqueraded as something great. The bigger loser here is LATAM and the only winner is DL, and possibly AV/Copa/Star (which all of a sudden becomes extremely attractive to business travelers). SkyTeam will continue to degrade, and partly drag oneworld down with it.

    While most people downplay the importance of alliances these days, large airlines with huge home markets really benefit from alliance memberships. It may not be useful for Tarom or Czech, but an airline the size of LATAM is not in the same boat. While LATAM is pulled out of the alliance scene; all of AV, Copa, DL, AA, IAG, AF/KL will still be part of one alliance or the other. AV’s Star Alliance membership benefits will far outweigh LATAM’s bilateral partnerships, reducing LA’s attractiveness for business travelers. Not to mention, DL and AF/KL is not going to even come close to what AA/IB offered in terms of connectivity or market relevance in South America. The signs are not good for LA. Even the whole thing about retaining bilateral partnerships with all other oneworld members other than AA screams of desperation!

  8. I’m booked on a codeshare flight from MCO to GRU (LA8187) in February of 2020. i booked via American and have the rest of my flights on american planes. if they stop codesharing on 1/31/20 what happens to my flight?

  9. Unfortunate for employees as now they can’t non-rev on those flights. Keeps getting worse for employees.

  10. @ Clayton. You non rev on the operating carrier not the codeshare so if American and LATAM still have an agreement it makes no difference it also has a DL code

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