My favourite alliance oneworld (named best airline alliance of 2013) are in the process of adding three airlines to its stable of airlines. This addition of these new members is reportedly the biggest expansion since the program began.The three new carriers are:
- TAM – member from 31st March, 2014
- US Airways – member from 31st March, 2014
- Sri Lankan- member from 1st May 2014
Hubs: São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Founded: 1976
Fleet: 172 Destinations: 61 destinations in 16 countries
Skytrax Rating: 3 star airline. Skytrax Passenger Rating: 42%
In 2012, Brazil’s TAM merged with Chile’s LAN. One of the conditions of the merger was that the two airlines could only belong to one alliance. As a result, TAM has switched from the Star Alliance to oneworld. In celebration, TAM has unveiled an A320 bearing the oneworld logo and issued new frequent flyer cards with that logo to the ten million members of the TAM Fidelidade Frequent Flyer program.
US Airways (US)
Hubs: Charlotte/Douglas, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Washington National Airport
Fleet: 620 Destinations: 200 destinations in 30 countries
Skytrax Rating: 3 star airline. Skytrax Passenger Rating: 30%
US Airways is also a Star Alliance transferee, as a result of the American Airlines-US Airways merger. While TAM is full oneworld member, US Airways has joined as an affiliate to American Airlines because they are expected to combine into one airline within the next year or so.
Passengers can no longer earn and redeem US Dividend miles on Star Alliance carriers after March 30, 2014. Existing reservations for travel on a codeshare flight with a Star Alliance partner from March 31, 2014 are safe. Passengers will find that they will be rebooked with the flight number of the carrier operating the flight.
Sri Lankan (UL)
Hub: Colombo, Sri Lanka. Founded: 1947
Fleet: 23 Destinations: 65 destinations in 35 countries
Skytrax Rating: 3 star airline. Skytrax Passenger Rating: 55%
Since the peace agreement in that country, Sri Lankan Airlines have enjoyed rapid growth. Their significant presence in India and the Maldives and North Asia fills a hole in the One World network around India. oneworld had originally intended for that gap to be filled by Kingfisher, a situation foiled by its demise. Sri Lankan already codeshares with Malaysia Airlines and Royal Jordanian.
I have never flown them despite being very eager to visit Sri Lanka.
Frequent Flyer Tiers
The Frequent flyer tiers for One World and the three new members is as follows:
|One World||Sri Lankan FlySmiles||TAM Fidelidade||US Airways|
|Emerald||Gold||Black & Red Plus||Chairman's Preferred|
|Sapphire||Silver||Fidelidade Red||Platinum & Gold Preferred|
|Ruby||Blue||Fidelidade Blue||Silver Preferred|
To celebrate the newcomers, oneworld airlines are offering doublepoints on eligible TAM flights flown in May and double for eligible US Airways flights from March 31 to June 30. Some airlines are adding the points automatically and some require registration for the deal so check with your airline’s frequent flyer program.
In addition, US Airways are running a promotion which can net any Dividend Miles member who flies five of the One World partner airlines before 30 June, 25 000 bonus dividend miles. There are lesser bonuses for flying two,three of four partners.
The main benefit of these additions for oneworld customers is increased reach. This alliance today connects almost a thousand airports in 150 countries with 140 million frequent flyer program members. It allows oneworld to catch up and overtake Skyteam and Star Alliance in some key markets. They now have a massive presence across the Americas with a boosted US East Coast capacity and a strong hold on South America. Capturing Qatar last year gives oneworld an edge in the middle east. Its European presence is a little weaker than the other alliances and that would weaken further if Air Berlin exited as a result of Etihad/Alitalia moves.
I have flown every member of the oneworld alliance except Finnair, Japan Airlines, S7, Sri Lankan and TAM! My favourite carriers are British, Cathay Pacific, LAN and Qatar. Malaysia, Qantas (still!) and Royal Jordanian are good carriers. AirBerlin is adequate. American infuriates me! I give US Airways a rating of 66 per cent for my 27 trips with them over the last decade. They are not awful but not a patch on Cathay, Malaysia or Qatar. Based on their Skytrax ratings, I suspect that Sri Lankan and TAM are not in that league either. It will be interesting to see if their inclusion in oneworld improves their passenger approval ratings.