The recent merger of United and Continental Airlines and an American Airlines interline agreement with WestJet could be good for travelers headed to snowy places. It's particularly encouraging at a time the industry is reporting strong third quarter profitability results, largely through mergers, eliminating routes, and cutting seats.
"One of the key benefits of our merger is the ability to create a network that gives our customers more flight options," Greg Hart, United's senior vice president network, told OnTheSnow. "Numerous communities will gain service as we begin to capitalize on the opportunity to use our combined fleet more efficiently."
Continental will add new flights between Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport and a number of new locations, including Grand Junction, Colo.; Montreal; and Reno, Nev.
United plans new service from Washington Dulles International Airport to Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Salt Lake City, subject to government approval. United also will start new service from Denver International Airport to Amarillo, Dallas Love Field, and Lubbock, Texas.
American Airlines and WestJet Airlines, Canada's economy carrier, announced they have entered into an interline agreement. This means American Airlines customers traveling to Canada and transferring to a WestJet flight can purchase a single ticket and check bags through to their final destination. That was not possible before the agreement.
American's customers now have connecting service to 25 new Canadian cities not currently served by American or American Eagle. WestJet serves a total of 31 Canadian cities and 71 destinations in 13 countries.
The connections will first be available through the six gateways in Canada currently served by American or American Eagle - Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver, Halifax, and Ottawa. American and WestJet expect to implement a second phase of their interline relationship in December that will add additional connecting opportunities through WestJet's non-stop U.S. flights to Canadian cities.
"American's interline agreement with WestJet complements our North American network and greatly benefits our customers by offering additional connections to and from new Canadian markets," said Virasb Vahidi, American's Chief Commercial Officer. "WestJet offers a high-quality on-board product that our customers will enjoy."
"This agreement represents WestJet's first interline with a U.S. carrier and we are excited to be working with such a well-established and recognized global airline like American Airlines," said Hugh Dunleavy, WestJet's Executive Vice-President, Strategy and Planning. "We look forward to welcoming the many American customers on board our aircraft as guests who will experience WestJet's world-class guest experience."
The interline connecting itineraries will be available for booking on American's Web site, as well as through travel agencies and American Airlines Reservations, effective Nov. 9, 2010.
The companies also said they are exploring other ways to enhance customer benefits through other commercial co-operation agreements.