In a move that caught travel insiders by surprise, El Al Israel Air Lines and Delta Air Lines announced a “strategic partnership” the companies say will make traveling easier for passengers flying between Israel and the United States.
Under the partnership, the airlines will recognize reciprocal frequent-flier miles and passengers can check their luggage through to their final destination.
“Working closely with El Al will further strengthen Delta’s connection to Israel,” stated Matteo Curcio, Delta’s senior vice president for Europe, Middle East, Africa and India.
“This partnership marks another important milestone in our long-term strategy and offers our customers unparalleled service,” added Shlomi Zafrany, El Al vice president for commercial and industry affairs.
“This is big for those who fly,” tweeted Yishai Fleisher, the international spokesman for the Jewish community of Hebron.
DansDeals noted that travelers will be able to earn and redeem Delta miles for El Al flights and vice versa. “Unfortunately neither carrier is known for generous redemptions, so this is a worst-case scenario for U.S. partnerships, as both American and United offer far more affordable partner redemption rates than Delta,” the site stated.
It added that El Al has stated that Delta committed to “make reasonable efforts to assist the company” to join SkyTeam, one of the world’s three major airline alliances.