Airline alliances are formed when different airlines agree to substantially cooperate with each other. Advantages for customers include more destinations and more convenient connections, while the airlines benefit by feeding passengers to each other instead of to competitors.
For travelers, the most obvious effect of airline alliances is codesharing whereby one airline will sell a seat on a flight with its own flight number, but the flight is performed by a different airline. (Note that not all airlines are part of an airline alliance, and not even all airlines within the same alliance do codeshares with each other.)
Although many airlines in an alliance have subsidiaries, the subsidiaries are often not members of the alliance which the parents are part of.
How does this apply to me?
- Airline alliances tend to coordinate their flights to ease connections, flying intercontinental flights to each other's hubs, adjusting schedules and grouping one alliance's flights at a single terminal at large airports. They code-share and interline with each other so that you can travel to many more destinations on a single ticket sold by your local airline.
- You can collect frequent flyer miles when flying on an alliance partner airline. This means for example that a passenger with Qantas can claim mileage when flying with another OneWorld airline such as British Airways.
- Additionally, status levels that you have on one airline are generally recognized by other airlines in the same alliance. For example, a 'Morning Calm' status with Korean Air will automatically give you 'Elite' status when flying with another airline in the SkyTeam alliance. Thus, you can check in at the Business Class counter, get priority luggage tags, getting emergency exit row seats assigned to you and priority boarding of the aircraft.
- Travelers can take advantage of a round-the-world ticket, a ticket with the ability to stop at a few countries around the world for a relatively lower price.
Oneworld is the smallest alliance counting by the number of airlines. The member airlines are spread evenly around the world, so it is a workable option when planning a long multi-point trip such as for a round the world flight. It was the first alliance to introduce interlining e-tickets.
|Alaska Airlines||United States||Anchorage, Los Angeles, Portland (OR), San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), Seattle-Tacoma.||Mileage Plan||Alaska Lounge||AS|
|American Airlines||United States||Charlotte, Chicago - O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York - JFK, New York - LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Washington - Reagan||AAdvantage||Admirals Club, Flagship Lounge||AA|
|British Airways||United Kingdom||London - Gatwick, London - Heathrow, New York-JFK||Executive Club||Various||BA|
|Cathay Pacific||Hong Kong||Hong Kong, Taipei-Taoyuan||Asia Miles/Marco Polo Club||Various||CX|
|Finnair||Finland||Helsinki||Finnair Plus||Finnair Lounge||AY|
|Iberia||Spain||Madrid||Iberia Plus||Sala VIP||IB|
|Japan Airlines||Japan||Fukuoka, Nagoya, Naha, Osaka-Itami, Osaka - Kansai, Sapporo,||JAL Mileage Bank||Sakura Lounge||JL|
|Malaysia Airlines||Malaysia||Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Penang||Enrich||Golden Lounge||MH|
|Qantas||Australia||Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney.||Qantas Frequent Flyer||Qantas Club||QF|
|Qatar Airways||Qatar||Doha||Privilege Club||Premium Lounge||QR|
|Royal Air Maroc||Morocco||Casablanca, Marrakech, Tangier.||Safar Flyer||Casablanca Lounge||AT|
|Royal Jordanian||Jordan||Amman, Aqaba||Royal Plus||Crown Lounge||RJ|
|S7 Airlines||Russia||Irkutsk, Moscow - Domodedovo, Novosibirsk, Saint Petersburg, Vladivostok.||S7 Priority||S7 Business lounges (Moscow, Novosibirsk)||S7|
|SriLankan Airlines||Sri Lanka||Colombo||FlySmiLes||Serendib Lounge||UL|
Oneworld Connect Partners:
|Airline||Country||Hubs||Frequent Flyer Program||Lounges||IATA|
|Fiji Airways||Fiji||Nadi, Suva||Tabua Club||Fiji Airways Premier Lounge||FJ|
SkyTeam is the latest alliance to be formed. It has a particularly strong network in Europe.
Star Alliance is the world's largest airline alliance.
Cooperation includes seamless code share flights and baggage interlining and, as a new trend, an increased degree of co-location in airport terminals.
Members of any Star Alliance frequent traveler program (FT) can credit miles or points flown in many booking classes on any Star Alliance operated aircraft.
"Gold" Star Alliance FT members get an extra 20 kg or "piece" of baggage; reciprocal access to most Star Alliance members' lounges; priority boarding and priority wait listing.
|Aegean Airlines||Greece||Athens, Chania, Heraklion, Kalamata, Larnaca, Rhodes, Thessaloniki,||Miles&Bonus||Aegean Club Lounge||A3|
|Air Canada||Canada||Calgary, Halifax, Montréal-Trudeau, Ottawa, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver||Aeroplan||Maple Leaf Lounge||AC|
|Air China||China||Beijing-Capital, Chengdu, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Hohhot, Shanghai-Pudong, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Wuhan||Air China Companion/Phoenix Miles||VIP Lounge||CA|
|Air India||India||Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram.||Flying Returns||Maharaja Lounge||AI|
|Air New Zealand||New Zealand||Auckland, Christchurch, Sydney, Wellington.||Airpoints||Koru Club||NZ|
|All Nippon Airways||Japan||Fukuoka, Nagoya-Chubu, Okinawa-Naha, Osaka-Itami, Osaka-Kansai, Sapporo, Tokyo-Haneda, Tokyo-Narita,||ANA Mileage Club||Club ANA Lounge||NH|
|Asiana Airlines||South Korea||Busan, Jeju, Seoul-Gimpo, Seoul-Incheon||Asiana Club||Asiana Lounge||OZ|
|Austrian Airlines||Austria||Graz, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna||Miles & More||Senator Lounge||OS|
|Avianca||Colombia||Bogotá, Cali, Guatemala City, Lima, Managua, Medellín, Miami, Quito, San José (CR), San Pedro Sula, San Salvador||LifeMiles||Avianca VIP Lounges||AV|
|Brussels Airlines||Belgium||Brussels||Miles & More||HON, Senator Lounge||SN|
|Copa Airlines||Panama||Bogotá, Panama City, San José (CR).||ConnectMiles||Copa Club||CM|
|Croatia Airlines||Croatia||Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Zagreb||Miles & More||Senator Lounge||OU|
|Egypt Air||Egypt||Alexandria, Cairo, Hurghada, Luxor, Sharm el-Sheikh.||EgyptAir Plus||EGYPTAIR||MS|
|Ethiopian Airlines||Ethiopia||Addis Ababa, Lomé||ShebaMiles||Cloud Nine and Sheba Miles Lounges||ET|
|EVA Air||Taiwan||Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Hong Kong, Kaohsiung, Taipei-Taoyuan, Taipei-Songshan||Infinity MileageLands||EVA Air Lounge||BR|
|LOT Polish Airlines||Poland||Budapest, Tallinn, Warsaw||Miles & More||Executive Lounge||LO|
|Lufthansa||Germany||Frankfurt, Munich||Miles & More||HON/Senator Lounge||LH|
|SAS Scandinavian Airlines||Denmark, Norway, Sweden||Bergen, Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Oslo, Stavanger, Stockholm, Tromsø.||Eurobonus||Scandinavian Lounge/Business Lounge||SK|
|Shenzhen Airlines||China||Beijing Capital, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Nanning, Quanzhou, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Wuxi, Xi'an, Yangzhou, Zhengzhou||PhoenixMiles||ZH|
|Singapore Airlines||Singapore||Singapore||KrisFlyer||SilverKris Lounge||SQ|
|South African Airways||South Africa||Johannesburg-O.R. Tambo, Cape Town||Voyager||Cycad/Baobab Lounge||SA|
|Swiss International||Switzerland||Geneva, Zurich||Miles & More||Swiss Lounge||LX|
|TAP Portugal||Portugal||Madeira, Lisbon, Porto||Victoria||Top Executive Lounge||TP|
|Thai Airways||Thailand||Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Phuket||Royal Orchid Plus||Royal Lounges||TG|
|Turkish Airlines||Turkey||Ankara, Istanbul-New, Izmir||Miles & Smiles||THY CIP Lounge||TK|
|United Airlines||United States||Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Guam, Houston-Bush, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, and Washington-Dulles.||Mileage Plus||United Club, United Polaris Lounge||UA|
A few airlines are "connecting partners", offering limited perks on flights connecting to ones on other Star Alliance airlines, but without being full members of Star Alliance:
|Airline||Country||Hubs||Frequent Flyer Program||Lounges||IATA|
|Juneyao Airlines||China||Shanghai-Hongqiao, and Shanghai-Pudong||Juneyao Air Club||Juneyao Airlines Lounges||HO|
|Thai Smile||Thailand||Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi and Chiang Mai||Royal Orchid Plus||WE|
U-FLY Alliance is the world's first alliance of low-cost carriers, focusing initially on China and Southeast Asia.
|Eastar Jet||South Korea||Jeju, Seoul-Gimpo, Seoul-Incheon||ZE|
|HK Express||Hong Kong||Hong Kong||Asia Miles||UO|
|Lucky Air||China||Chengdu, Kunming||Fortune Wings Club||8L|
Value Alliance is an alliance of low-cost Asia-Pacific carriers.
|Cebu Pacific||Philippines||Boracay-Kalibo, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Iloilo, Lapu-Lapu/Cebu, Manila, Pampanga, Zamboanga||GetGo||5J|
|Jeju Air||South Korea||Jeju, Seoul-Gimpo, Seoul-Incheon||Refresh Point||7C|
|Nok Air||Thailand||Bangkok-Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Ho Chi Minh City, Phuket, Yangon||Nok Fan Club||DD|
Vanilla Alliance (French: Alliance Vanille) was created to improve air connectivity within the Indian Ocean region.
|Air Mauritius||Mauritius||Port Louis||Kestrelflyer||MK|
|Air Seychelles||Seychelles||Victoria||Etihad Guest||HM|
In some countries (especially those with extensive high speed rail networks) there are also cooperation agreements between airlines and railway operators, offering trains as a code-shared "flight" or other benefits to travelers. For more on the topic see rail air alliances.
Frequent flyer programs
- Main article: Frequent flyer programmes
You should choose your Frequent Flyer airline in an alliance carefully. Although you may think it is intuitive to join the airline you fly most, you should be aware that privileges offered are often different and frequent flyer points may be more generous under a different airline in the same alliance.
By way of example, to reach Star Alliance Gold status (affording you priority wait listing and boarding, extra checked baggage allowance and use of lounges even when flying on any Star Alliance economy flight) requires only 20,000 miles in one year with Aegean Airlines' Miles&Bonus program, but some other member program require 50,000 or even 100,000 miles in a year to be flown before awarding Gold status.