One-Way Codeshares and Why JetBlue Likes Them

Yesterday I wrote about the possibilities for JetBlue to bring partners into Terminal 5 at JFK, but there was one other nugget in the earnings call that caught my eye. This one comes from Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s EVP and Chief Commercial Officer. He talked about why the airline likes one-way codesharing.

JetBlue and the One Way Codeshare

What is one-way codesharing, you ask? It’s where Airline A places its code on the flights of Airline B, but Airline B doesn’t place it’s code on the flights of Airline A. Anyway, here’s what Robin had to say.

…if you look at what a lot of the costs really come with code-share, it really comes around when you are placing your code on another carrier, because you now get into an exhaustive list of disclosure requirements. You are providing a lot of training for your staff or crew members at JetBlue, whether that is in the call centers or ticket desks, and we have been careful to avoid two-way code. We have started doing it in interline where we have sizable interline partnerships and we see benefits that take that to the next level, which has been one-way code, which puts the onus on our partner to manage that complexity.

JetBlue is an increasingly popular participant in this kind of arrangement. The airline recently announced codeshares with both Japan Air Lines (JAL) and Emirates. In these codeshares, you can buy a ticket on, say, JAL from Tokyo to Buffalo, but you can’t do the same on JetBlue. Why not? Because it’s a real pain.

JAL, as a longtime flag carrier and member of oneworld, is used to dealing with complex relationships like this. In fact, most global carriers deal with these types of situations every day. For JetBlue, it’s easier to sit on the sidelines and take advantage of the opportunity without having to add the complexity.

That means JAL needs to train its people on knowing JetBlue’s rules while JetBlue just has to carry passengers and bags that JAL delivers to JetBlue’s door.

I still don’t like codeshares, but I get why JetBlue does this. It means more traffic for JetBlue because of the way tickets are sold today. But it’s not enough of a benefit for JetBlue to want to put its code on the other airlines.

That makes some sense to me. I mean, nobody is thinking about flying JetBlue to far flung destinations, so if people saw flights on JetBlue to Japan, they’d probably be scratching their heads anyway. But for people in Japan, they certainly expect to be able to fly JAL to the US and that could very well include Buffalo.

The funny thing is that JAL already offers that with a codeshare with American, but now it can offer even more options with JetBlue as well. I’m not surprised to see this is how JetBlue views the world of codesharing and I bet we’ll see more of it down the road.

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