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American, Delta to end interline agreement on Sept. 15

A Delta Connection Canadair Regional Jet takes off at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. (Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison)
A Delta Connection Canadair Regional Jet takes off at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. (Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison) Star-Telegram

American Airlines and Delta Air Lines will end their interline agreement on September 15.

In a letter sent to employees on Thursday, American said that the two airlines were unable to reach a new interline agreement which allows the airlines to rebook passengers on the other airline’s flights during irregular operations, such as a thunderstorm.

“We have been unable to come to terms on an agreement with Delta and, as a result, have mutually agreed to end our interline agreement effective September 15. From that date, neither airline will offer interline services to each other, including the ability to rebook passengers at discounted rates on the other carrier when flight disruptions occur,” American said in a statement.

So if a thunderstorm hits DFW and American is trying to rebook passengers flying to Atlanta on other flights, it will no longer be able to rebook them on one of Delta’s daily flights to Atlanta.

Delta said it is because American sends so many “irregular operations” customers to Delta that it decided to end the interline agreement.

“Thanks to employees’ stellar operational performance, Delta customers enjoy an industry-leading experience. Unfortunately, we couldn't reach an agreement with American that adequately addressed the number of IROPs customers that American transferred to us,” said Delta senior vice president of revenue management Eric Phillips. “In July, for example, American sent passengers to Delta for reaccommodation at a five-to-one ratio. At that rate the industry agreement was no longer mutually beneficial.”

With the end of the interline agreement, it also means that customers who want to buy an itinerary that uses both airlines on one ticket will no longer be able to do so. For example, if a traveler wants to buy a ticket from a travel agent to fly from DFW to Atlanta on American and then continue on to Valdosta, Georgia on Delta, the travel agent will have to issue two separate tickets instead of just one.

American said that it will honor valid tickets purchased on or before September 14 with the existing interline agreement.

“While this is a change, it will not affect our commitment to reaccommodate customers during irregular operations. The new American now has the world’s largest and best network and our team is doing a great job of running a reliable airline. With nine hubs and gateways and nearly 7,000 daily flights, we have more ability to re-route our customers during operational disruption than any other airline in the world,” American said.