What are airline alliances and how can you benefit as a passenger?
In the early 90's number of passengers and flights increased dramatically and led to a hard market competition between many different airline companies. Furthermore, it led to a significant number of contracts signed between various airline companies that weren't connected before. In just few years tremendous number of contracts was made and from 1998. until 2005. fast and turbulent process of forming airline alliances took place. So, we can say that airline alliances are multilateral cooperation between different airline companies with the purpose of combining their resources and becoming a competitive force on the market.
One of the key benefits of air alliances is that it allows companies to integrate and optimize their existing network. Usually, members of alliance share their technical and ground operating services in order to reduce their operating costs and to increase their revenue. By acting together airline companies can reach destinations worldwide without taking a big risk of failure. In addition, airline companies can increase their sales and total revenue by having joint marketing actions, campaigns and promotions. What are the main airline alliances and what kind of benefits they can offer you as a passenger? At the end of 2005., three major airline alliances – Star Alliance, Sky Team and Oneworld took their place on international scene and conquered two thirds of the airline market. Nowadays, we can say that these three major airline alliances are still the strongest and the biggest in the world.
We will briefly tell you about top 3 major airline alliances and we will share with you some of the benefits that they offer to their passenger with the membership status!
It is the biggest and the oldest airline alliance in the world, which was founded in 1997. Its headquarters is located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Currently, it consists of 26 companies that fly with approximately 5000 aircrafts to 1290 destinations worldwide or 195 different countries. Croatia Airlines is a member of Star Alliance.
In order to please their passengers, Star Alliance offers to their members benefits such as priority Check-in, priority Baggage Handling and priority Boarding. In addition, these passengers can use fast tracks while going through security check and they can enjoy all the comfort which airport lounges offer.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic, we will mention some of the possibilities that Croatia Airlines offers to their passengers in case of flight cancellation or if their passengers decide not to travel until the October 25th 2020. Passengers have an option for unlimited number of rebookings without rebooking fee for existing and newly booked tickets up to June 15th 2020. Another option is to get a voucher refund for the total ticket value, including service fee. This kind of voucher can be exchanged for a new ticket within 12 months from the date of issue.
Second largest airline alliance consists of 19 airline companies and carries more than 600 million passenger yearly to more than 1150 destinations worldwide. It was founded in 2000., as last big airline alliance in world. Five members of SkyTeam had their regular flights to Croatia. These five members were Aeroflot, Air France Czech Airlines, KLM and Korean Air.
Sky Team offers to their passengers with membership cards more than 10 benefits that can vary from company to company. For example, as a member of SkyTeam you can have guaranteed reservations on sold-out flights. Also, you can enjoy services such as priority Check-in and priority Boarding. One interesting thing is that Sky Team provides to their member not only fast security tracks, but also fast immigration tracks.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, SkyTeam also offers different possibilities to their passengers. These options can vary depending of the airline member.
The third biggest airline alliance is Oneworld with the number of passengers exceeding 500 million yearly. It was founded in New York in 1999. Oneworld consists of 13 airline companies. Members of Oneworld are American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines i SriLankan Airlines. By using Oneworld passengers can reach more than 1000 destinations worldwide.
To save their time, Oneworld offers to their passengers with membership cards benefits such as priority Check-in, Boarding, Baggage Handling. Premium members have additional benefits like an extra baggage Check-in for free or their premium white glove service,
In order to keep their passengers happy Oneworld established additional possibilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. E.g. Qatar Airways offers to their passengers possibility to re-book ticket to alternative dates or destinations or option to receive a voucher for future travel, equivalent to the values of the ticket plus additional 10% value, excluding statutory taxes. Furthermore it offers the possibility to exchange ticket for Qatar Airways Privilege Club Qmiles, or to get a refund. All of these possibilities apply to all tickets issued anytime until the December 31st 2020, for travel on or before the same date.
If you are traveling quite often, we suggest membership in all alliances since it is free, in that way you can earn miles on flights which could provide you various benefits in the future.