Measuring Star, Skyteam, One World – Which is the “BEST” airline alliance?

Every airline passenger will have seen the name and logos of the three big airline alliances carrying almost two out of three of the world’s airline passengers.  The names adorn planes, airline marketing materials, boarding passes, in flight magazines and airport signs. All three of the big US airlines (American, Delta and United) are linked to one of the alliances.  In Europe, it is the same with the three major airline groups.

There are also three smaller and newer alliances: U fly, Vanilla, Value. I list of all the members of the alliances at the end of this post. I think Ufly and Value should look at combining.

Who is your alliance of choice? And Why? Which one is the best alliance in your opinion?


My Alliance of Choice

I am a major One World Customer, largely driven by my Status level at Qantas, one of the founding partners of the OneWorld Alliance. But I was interested in how many of the airlines that belong to each alliance, I have flown, how many times I have flown each alliance and for how many miles. Thanks to my use of the Flightmemory tracking system , I have that data!

As you check these out, how do they compare to your experience? First up, the number of airlines of each of the alliances I have flown.


I have flown with all but one of the current OneWorld members Including Air Berlin which clsoes tomorrow. The one that I am missing is Russia’s S7.  I have even flown Aer Lingus who will be rejoining One World and Malev, another one of the members that went bankrupt.

Star Alliance is the largest by a number of the alliances and I have flown on one thirs of their members. While Skyteam has 20 members, I have only flown with six of them.

As to be expected, my 533 One World Flights dwarf the 254 with Star Alliance members (which in itself not to be sniffed at!) My Skyteam and Value Alliance members are almost a handful by comparison. (Interestingly I have flown over 300 times with airlines such as Emirates, Etihad, Southwest which are not members of any alliance).


The miles are in the same proprotion.





Out of the 5000 airline

I have now flown all of them except S7. I was prompted to see how that compared with the other alliances. it is estimated that the major alliances combined fly about two-thirds of all airline passengers.

This table shows how many airlines each alliance has and how many of them I have flown- both as a number and a percentage. How does that compare with your usage?


Which alliance is the best?

I have considered three things:

  1. Size
  2. skytrax ratings which measure
  3. my ratings



Star dwarves the others with sheer number of planes, destinations and passengers carried. Having Lufthansa, Singapore and United as members tips the balance. Star and One World were closer than I thought (althiugh I suspoect teh figure include Air Berlin).


  1. skytrax ratings which measure

This is not an exact science by any means!

average rating

star 84

one world 80.4

skyteam 73.8


value: 68.7




  1. Star Alliance : 15 of 28 or 54% (1st time TAP Portugal upcoming)
    oneworld : 7 of 14, or 50%
    SkyTeam : 7 of 20, or 35% (1st time AirEuropa upcoming)

    Value Alliance : 0 of 5, or 0%

  2. I really like*A with the major exception of United. Had several miserable experiences even before this year’s newsworthy incidents. For that one airline alone, *A is off my list.

    I also like OA and especially CX and their lounges. But their China coverage is too weak and they rely too heavily on BA for Western Europe. So unfortunately the routes I value most are underserved.

    That leaves me with ST which is the least of all evils, IMO. Terrible lounges and many partners are just average. But they do service the routes I want and Delta is relatively very reliable in regular operations and IRROPS recovery which has an outsize value to me. So for now, I’m with ST.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.