Breaking: United Airlines Cutting Ties with the Middle East
It’s no surprise that United Airlines, along with the other US airlines Delta and American Airlines, don’t have any love for the Middle East carriers. They’ve been in a war of words now for years, bickering over things like subsidies and unfair trade practices, etc. Well, we’ve just learned today that United is taking their feud one step further, and this one doesn’t really seem to make sense.
We’ve learned today from a source with access to the information that as of early May, United Airlines will be cutting all interline agreements with five Middle East carriers in what I can only assume is an attempt to Make America Great Again.
What is Interlining?
Interlining is a fairly common, and voluntary, agreement between airlines to accommodate passengers who need to use more than one airline on an itinerary to reach their final destination. For example, you could fly United from Newark to Frankfurt, and then on Emirates from Frankfurt to Dubai. United has an interline agreement with Emirates to make the process seamless and effortless. Without an interline agreement in place, passengers would have to reclaim their bag, head to the check in counters, and then go through the entire process all over again, adding time, stress, and hassle to their travel experience.
Apparently, tickets that have already been issued are OK, while any and all new tickets will have the restrictions in place. The affected airlines (for now) are: Emirates, Qatar, FlyDubai, Saudia, and Royal Jordanian. Talk about a mixed bag… what you don’t see are the two Star Alliance carriers EgyptAir and Turkish Airlines, I would assume because of their commitments under the Star Alliance charter. This being said, it’s pretty obvious that there is a nefarious reason for making such a change.
Why the rush?
From what we found out, they’re trying to ram this through as quickly as possible for some reason. Not only does this come off as being anti-middle east, it’s also quite vindictive and can end up costing a lot of money. Passengers will now have to think twice about using these Middle East carriers for their travel plans and instead would have to use a, what I’ll call, “United Approved Carrier” to make their connections.
As we posted about some time back, the heads of United and Delta met with President Trump back in February and promised to make an effort to hire more people if Trump made the playing field more level. Shortly after, the ill-conceived Laptop and Electronics ban was implemented, severely hampering those carriers with flights to the US. Now, it’s just one more way a legacy US carrier can take a jab at the Middle East carriers.