Relationship with JAL: Delta or American?

Fliers in the United States may get more options when traveling to Japan, but it’s unsure which airline will be the one to deliver. Both Delta and American are said to be in talks with Japan Airlines, and the winner is likely to have greater access to the largest travel market in Asia. Delta’s deal is reported to be worth several hundred million dollars, while the American Airlines offer is said to be in excess of $1 billion.

For travelers, the result will be more choices when traveling to Japan. In addition to route sharing, frequent flier programs will show the impact of the relationship that either Delta or American will win … assuming they can get past the regulators. For Delta, the main problem will be that the largest airline in the United States will have a significant relationship with the largest airline in Japan, raising issues about competition.

It’s still early in the game, and the talks aren’t even being revealed by the airlines themselves. A tough financial year for the airline industry is likely to be a factor in any final deal, as well. There are a lot of moving parts, and it will take time to show which ones will eventually fit together.