American, Qatar Make Nice, and Air New Zealand Considers a 'Skynest'
- How sweet. Two old enemies are burying the hatchet. American, which for years complained about Qatar Airways and its alleged subsidies, is now forming a close strategic partnership with the Gulf carrier. The two say they’ve “moved on from past issues.”
American, in case you haven’t noticed, is getting more creative and aggressive with partnerships, evident from the deals it just did with Alaska and Gol. Royal Air Maroc is another new partner, befriended to support new nonstops to Casablanca.
Will American now fly to Doha? Not now, no. But it mentioned the possibility in future years. The partnership with Qatar currently focuses on codesharing, enabling smooth transfers from the Gulf carrier’s U.S. flights to American’s flights, in cities like Boston, Dallas DFW, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Miami. It’s also a way for American’s customers to easily book journeys to places beyond the Middle East.
The two oneworld members had a modest codesharing relationship prior to 2017, before the Gulf carrier subsidy debate was at a boil.
- Reality or a public-relations stunt? Air New Zealand filed patents for what it’s calling the “Economy Skynest” cabin. This will feature sleep pods for economy class – a major benefit for an airline that operates ultra-longhaul flights from its base in a remote archipelago.
The pods will come with sheets and pillows and will not supplant economy-class seating. Passengers will be able to go to their sleep pods when they want and probably will book snooze sessions, with the cabin crew refreshing the pods between passengers.
The vision is more than a year away, though. Air New Zealand says it will decide on whether to outfit aircraft with the cabin after it launches its Auckland-New York flights next year.