All about airline alliances
Which are the biggest airline alliances in the world, and why do they exist in the first place? Find out more about major alliances Star Alliance, SkyTeam and Oneworld in our guide.
What is an airline alliance?
The idea of an airline alliance is to enable the cooperation between several airlines. For example, the alliances make it possible for airlines to share resources and customer services. This makes flying way more convenient, not least when it comes to connecting flights. The alliances between different airlines also enable their travelers to redeem miles on each others’ programs.
There are three major global airline alliances on the aviation market today – Star Alliance, SkyTeam and Oneworld.
The biggest airline alliance worldwide is Star Alliance. The alliance was founded back in 1997 by Air Canada, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Thai Airways and United Airlines. Today, Star Alliance has more than 25 members around the world spanning over hundreds of countries, with at least one member from each continent. Their base is located in Frankfurt, Germany.
The second largest alliance in the world is SkyTeam, both when it comes to number of members and passengers carried. Founding members are Aeromexico, Air France, Delta Air Lines and Korean Air, and the alliance was formed in the year 2000.
In 1998, airline alliance Oneworld was formed by American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas. Today it’s the third largest airline alliance in the world. Something unique about this alliance is that it holds two major American airlines, with Alaska Airlines being a member.
What are the benefits with airline alliances?
For you as a traveler, there are a number of benefits with the airline alliances. As previously mentioned, the alliances often mean that the airlines have shared customer services – in other words you can turn to either one of the cooperating airlines if you have an issue with one of them.
With the alliances it is also easier to collect and spend miles. Additionally, there is a lot of codesharing between the airlines in the same alliance. Codesharing means that an airline can sell seats on a flight operated by another airline, making traveling more convenient for you as a customer.