JetBlue eyes aggressive international airline partnerships

JetBlue is making headlines again, and this time it has nothing to do with potentially endangering its passengers. The airline said earlier this week that it plans to start codesharing with "large international carriers" and would announce the partnerships in the coming months.

Codesharing, for those not hip to the airline lingo, simply means that airline X might sell seats on airline Y to complement airline X's route map. So for example, JetBlue and its unannounced partner airlines would sell each other's seats, meaning a traveler could fly from, say, London to New York on the international carrier, and then from New York to Las Vegas on JetBlue (and vice versa), all as part of the same itinerary. I use New York as an example here because JFK is JetBlue's hub and the most likely connection point for international codeshares.

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This move looks to go right after Delta, which we know is a) banking its rebound on international routes, and b) turning JFK into one of its big international hubs.

It's too early to say, though, whether this is a smart move for JetBlue or if the airline is stretching itself too thin. Certainly other low-cost carriers have shied away from codeshares in the past (though the fairly recent Southwest/ATA codeshare appears to be a success). The question, though, is whether JetBlue is trying to protect itself from Delta's strategy, or is aggressively trying to throw a wrench in it. Or maybe the best defense, in this case, is a good offense.

Either way, competition is always good for us, the travelers.

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