JetBlue and Lufthansa Finally Announce a Codeshare

Alliances, JetBlue, Lufthansa

I’m trying to think if there’s a codeshare that’s been as widely anticipated as that between Lufthansa and JetBlue. It seems like this thing has been in the works forever, but now they’re finally getting the partnership up and running. Lufthansa JetBlue PartnershipBookings should begin in October.

It was all the way back in December 2007 when Lufthansa announced it would buy a 19% stake in JetBlue. At the time, there was no cooperation announced, but most people felt it was inevitable. Eventually, it became obvious that it would happen. On a JetBlue flight earlier this year, I even saw this ad (at left) on my seatback TV. But it took until now for the codeshare to actually be announced.

Neither United nor US Airways have much of an operation at JFK, so this provides Lufthansa with a strong partner and a solid product to feed its flights. It just makes sense.

When Lufthansa purchased its stake, I said “Enjoy your bitch-slap, United. Oh sure, that young little hussy JetBlue can’t replace you . . . yet, but Lufthansa is clearly not as faithful to you as you might have hoped. Maybe you shouldn’t have let yourself get so out of shape over the years.” As I said a the end of the article, I didn’t actually think JetBlue would replace United as Lufthansa’s main partner, and I still feel the same way. If it were true, Lufthansa wouldn’t have bothered will all the time and effort to get the Atlantic Plus Plus alliance going with Continental, Air Canada, United, etc.

But this is the next natural step for Lufthansa, since they own a piece of the airline. The codeshare will begin connecting only 12 JetBlue destinations through Boston and New York/JFK into the Lufthansa network. Those cities are Austin, Buffalo, Ft Lauderdale, Ft Myers, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Raleigh/Durham, Rochester, San Juan, Syracuse, Tampa, and West Palm Beach. You’ll notice that none of these are particularly strong destinations for United, so it makes a lot of sense. Besides, those Germans love Florida.

You’ll be able to book a ticket between those cities and much of the Lufthansa network. This is a big step for JetBlue. The airline’s first attempt at a codeshare was not exactly a full-blown arrangement. You can buy a ticket on the Aer Lingus website to travel from Ireland to the US connecting on a JetBlue flight, but that’s it.

This Lufthansa deal will allow for booking on either airline’s code via airline websites or via travel agents. It’s a full codeshare agreement, and it’s probably the first of many more to come for the Blue Crew.

Get Cranky in Your Inbox!

The airline industry moves fast. Sign up and get every Cranky post in your inbox for free.

15 comments on “JetBlue and Lufthansa Finally Announce a Codeshare

  1. That’s why JetBlue announced they were joining ARC so they could do a proper codeshare. Then they can get up some other interline agreements with other LH partners.

    It will be interesting to see this winter if the JetBlue codeshare flights to/from LH get better treatment on the ground during snow delays to keep the LH/B6 connecting traffic following smoothly.

  2. How did we ever survive before there was such a thing as “code-sharing?” Like anything offered to me as “flight operated by…,” “requires change of plane/equipment, but still is the same flight number,” etc. All things to give you the impression of something that you wish, but really isn’t.

    Code-sharing even bastardizes the Fly America Act/executive orders that you would think has government business going first to US-Flag carries. Wrong! If the carrier says in advance that it will use code-sharing, then you can spend tax dollars for foreign-flag service even where non-code-share US-flag service is readily available. [Not saying Fly America makes sense, but….]

    Why isn’t good old interlining enough? Can’t you market, sell, handle, process an interline arrangement for a customer’s convenience just as well as a code-sharing, which I find a very confusing and something of a deception. ]”So nice to see you sir, but I see you’re on UA code-share operated by LH. Please take you 3 bags over to LH and see if they can dig up your UA PNR in their system! Have a pleasant journey!’]

    OK, LH and Jet Blue, whatever!

  3. JK wrote:

    Why isn’t good old interlining enough?

    It’s all about the reservation display. Flights under the same code will generally show up first, and that’s huge. I can imagine that simple codesharing wouldn’t really need to be around except for that reason. Now alliances are a different story, because there’s additional cooperation around that.

  4. Hey Cranky you just got props on the flightbblogger website…you are one of the “Top Aviation Tweeters” and a “must-follow” according to him. Under his Sept 8 post re: Wichita

  5. Stephen wrote:

    Hey Cranky you just got props on the flightbblogger website…you are one of the “Top Aviation Tweeters” and a “must-follow” according to him. Under his Sept 8 post re: Wichita

    Thanks, Stephen. He was actually linking to Simpliflying’s post which named both of us as top tweeters along with some others. For those who want to see the list, go here:

  6. I can’t remember, did the JetBlue investment pre-date Continental’s announcement that they were going to enter Star Alliance?

    Something to point out though about Lufthansa and JFK though is that Lufthansa as a parent company has A LOT of flights there (they already own Swiss and have approval to complete their takeover of Austrian). So on the whole it seems like their interest in JFK at the moment would be almost comparable to IAD–it’s just that they don’t have much feed.

    And if you look at Lufthansa’s broader actions, they seem to be governed not so much by discontent with their American partners as simply an intent to expand their current reach. Having more feed into JFK helps them use their existing flights to add traffic to their network beyond their hubs to the rest of Europe, to Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.

  7. Alex C wrote:

    I can’t remember, did the JetBlue investment pre-date Continental’s announcement that they were going to enter Star Alliance?

    Yep, by about 6 months.

  8. Hmm, I wonder if they’re going to have any ground transportation between Terminals 1 and 5? Given the icky NY weather I sure hope they do.

    Anyone know if T5 has any provisions for ground transportation?

  9. CF wrote:

    It’s all about the reservation display. Flights under the same code will generally show up first, and that’s huge.

    I read in a book somewhere that code sharing in the U.S. started as a consequence of deregulation – all of a sudden travel agents were getting multiple screens for each itinerary so the order of presentation became very important. Around 1984 a ruling was issued with the purpose of making the order more fair to everyone, and one aspect of the ruling was that connections on the same carrier got priority. Within a short period (2 years?) almost all regional carriers ended up masquerading as mainline carriers, because otherwise their flights would never show up high enough.

    That same ruling is also responsible for displaying “direct” flights (same flight number) with the same priority as non-stop flights, which I find a bit deceptive, especially when there’s a “scheduled aircraft change”.

    Unfortunately I don’t remember where I read this.

  10. Of course you’re right, Cranky, reservation display. Pure, out-and-out deceptive practice!

    But, isn’t CRS display bias supposed to be illegal? How do airlines get away with this?

    ATC doesn’t call these code-share flights anything other than the underlying airline and flight number. And for me, suppose I tell my Mom I’m flying in UA 8833, IAD to FRA. Actually, it’s LH 417, but OAG and other quick info aren’t always so clear as to whom the underlying carriers and flight numbers are. And then, tragedy! LH 417 crashes, or it’s hijacked. Mom doesn’t worry. Her son’s on UA 8833. Oh?

    In this day and age, how do the airlines get away with this?

  11. JK wrote:

    But, isn’t CRS display bias supposed to be illegal? How do airlines get away with this?

    This isn’t bias, really. It’s just showing “online” connections above interline connections without singling out individual airlines. But that doesn’t matter. I believe the bias rules were lifted recently.

  12. I believe the “display of information” rules regarding CRSs are still around, at 14 CFR 255.4. though not as thorough as they once were.

    “Disclosure” rules for code-share are at 14 CFR 257, and change-of-guage services, 14 CFR 258.

    The DOT dockets for making changes to these rules are really classics, stuff only a true airline regulatory-types could appreciate. I loved reading the latest one regarding code-share disclosure (OST-2004-19083). Eventually, after a year of back and forth, DOT went along with UA’s request to get the rule for some types of advertising changed to read simply: “Some services are provided by other airlines.” UA argued for a change, citing all this terrible asterisking and footnoting it had to do. [They sure do know how to do that, don’t they.] Interestingly, JetBlue argued against UA. I think the latest effort, with LH, would have them now agreeing with UA.

    Regardless, I still would argue the benefits of allowing use of code-share and change-of-guage is confusing, if not downright deceptive regarding marketing of services. Get rid of it! Just an opinion.

  13. Hmm, I think change-of-guage and/or plane under a same flight number should be stopped, and probably outlawed, as it gives a bad impression, and doesn’t really seem to make sense. Its a connection in disguise…

    That being said codeshares are a useful way for airlines to extend their brand and reach, i think there has just been a bit too much willy nilly code sharing in some cases..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Cranky Flier