A Qantas 747-400ER and an American 777 on the ground at Dallas-Fort Worth… Soon a sight for Australian airports?
Traveling down under to Australia is one of the most heavily-restricted air travel markets. However, yesterday Qantas and American Airlines make some changes to their services over the Pacific to increase opportunities. As of the middle of December 2015, both American (AA) and Qantas (QF) are going re-add services that were previously cut.
Qatar Airways to join Oneworld. Image: Qatar Airways
An announcement was made today (September 9th) that as of October 30th, Qatar Airways will be officially accepted in to the Oneworld Alliance of airlines.
Oneworld gave the official nod to Qatar after the final reviews and checks were completed by the alliance, in conjunction with British Airways, the sponsoring airline. The review process was completed in record time and with the admission date set for approximately one year after the invitation was announced, making it the fastest approval process for a Oneworld airline to date.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: “In Qatar Airways’ relatively short history, we have quickly established a reputation for innovation, quality and excellence in everything we do. We are pleased to build on that by becoming the only major airline from the Gulf to date to be joining any of the global airline alliances. We are proud to entering the best of them, in Oneworld – and to be doing so in record quick time. We very much look forward to flying alongside some of the best airlines in the world from 30 October, bringing the heightened benefits offered by Oneworld to our customers.”
Delta Sky Priority Check In just one of the perks given to their Elite Medallion members – Photo: Delta
This is a second leg (part) in a multi- leg series. Make sure to read LEG 1 first.
Previously, I mentioned that you can get some pretty sweet benefits being an elite frequent flier and hope to expand on the idea a bit more on this part, which deserves a whole article on it’s own.
Unlike earning points, the benefits come once you have achieved that elite status and each airline has different benefits they will give their elites. Most of the airlines though tend to give the big three:
1) Priority Boarding – This means you get to board before the general economy passengers, obtaining not only that precious overhead bin space, but a few extra minutes to get yourself settled without being crowded and holding up the queue behind you.
2) Priority Check In – Being able to check in without having to wait in long lines, going to the “front of the queue” almost can be worth its “wait” in gold. Getting checked in and on your way to security fast and efficiently makes any frequent flier happy.
3) Priority Security – Avoiding that long security line behind that family with 8 children and 25 bags is always a good thing. Speedily getting up to that security check point and getting through in the least amount of time possible means you can be on your way to the gate (or lounge) faster. If you are lucky enough you may even qualify for TSA Pre Check (but that’s a whole different story).
In some cases these benefits can be worth it on their own. But there are other, less common benefits, that some airlines give that really make it worth the effort:
- Bonus Points
- Seating Upgrades
- Change Fee Waivers
- Lounge Access
- Free/Extra Baggage Allowance
American Airlines & other oneworld airline elite fliers (Emerald status) allow access to the First Class lounges in their network, even if you are flying on an economy ticket. Star Alliance gives all of their Gold members lounge access as well (for a full run down on Star Alliance Gold benefits watch this snazzy YouTube video).
United Airlines Premier 1K fliers are able to make same day changes to their flights without fees and Delta gives complimentary domestic upgrades to most of its Elites (though you still have to fight the other elites for those First Class seats).
No matter what program you choose, they all offer something to their VIP customers to make them smile.
Getting an upgrade to a First Class Seat on Delta could land you in a seat like this on some routes – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com
I am a Star Alliance Gold and a Virgin Australia Velocity Gold. These two programs probably mean nothing to the average American flier and most airline employees around the world barely know about the airline I hold Star Gold status with (and the less that know, the better). They both give some pretty great benefits to me that other programs don’t. Just because I live in the USA (but from Australia) doesn’t mean that I need to credit all of my flying to a US based program. Virgin Australia allows me to earn status on them, while I fly on Delta, Virgin America or Hawaiian.
Some times the benefits can be a little confusing. For instance if I was flying on United, I would get lounge access thanks to being Star Gold with a non us based airline. However, If I was Star Gold with only United, I would be in the Starbucks queue like everyone else for my morning coffee and not have lounge access. So doing the research on the privileges that different programs give is important.
Mileage running is just a way to get all the things you want with a travel experience as quickly, cheaply and easily as possible. Sure mileage running is not for everyone, but if it’s for you… it can be well worth it!
||This story written by…Malcolm Muir, Lead Correspondent.
Mal is an Australian Avgeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry.
@BigMalX | BigMal’s World | Photos
US Airways Airbus A330 and American Airlines Boeing 777. Image from American.
Ever since American Airlines declared bankruptcy in November 2011, Doug Parker from US Airways has been on the prowl to snap up the airline and merge. Talk of a possible merger has remained around the aviation world since then, and in some cases it has been discussed to the ends of the earth. It really shouldn’t have been much of a surprise when news that the two airlines would merge started to leak last night.
The two airlines will combine and create one of the world’s largest airlines. The combined entity will lose the US Airways name and will become a member of oneworld. The “New American Airlines” will strengthen oneworld with a combined network of 336 locations in 56 countries offering 6700 daily flights.
“Today, we are proud to launch the new American Airlines – a premier global carrier well equipped to compete and win against the best in the world,” said Tom Horton, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of American Airlines. “Together, we will be even better positioned to deliver for all of our stakeholders, including our customers, people, investors, partners, and the many communities we serve.”
The New Merging Couple, US Airways and the New American Airlines Liver – Image: American Airlines
What does this mean for the traveling public? The two airlines will continue to operate separately for quite sometime and it might be a while before most passengers see any real changes. But here is the basic run down:
- The US Airways brand will be transitioned to the new unveiled American Airlines brand and look.
- The head quarters of the new American will be located in Dallas Fort-Worth.
- All hubs will remain in the combined operation: Dallas, Miami, JFK, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Chicago, Charlotte, Washington D.C. (National) & Los Angeles.
- US Airways will leave Star Alliance and the new combined airline will continue with oneworld
- American CEO Tom Horton will continue to be to the chairman — for now.
- US Airways Dividend Miles will no longer exist and will be merged into AAdvantage (but as to when this still has not been announced).
- They will continue to grow the combined airline taking delivery of over 600 new aircraft (including Boeing 777-300ERs & 737-800, Airbus A350s, A320 & A321 NEOs) and retiring the older aircraft (ie MD-80’s).
How will this livery look on an Airbus A330? Image from American.
The new airline does not expect many jobs will be lost due to the two airlines not having much overlap. “We’re not anticipating any major layoffs,” said US Airways CEO Doug Parker according to the Airline Biz Blog. “The airline will be based in Dallas-Fort Worth and some people won’t want to move from Phoenix [US Airways is based there]. Most of this well take care of itself.”
When the Airline Biz Blog asked the airline CEOs about their regional counterparts (American Eagle and US Airways Express), they explained that they want to concentrate on the mainline before looking at the regional carriers. “We’ll keep them as part of the larger airline,” Parker explained. “It’s one of those things we’ll have to work on over time, but certainly there’s nothing to announce.” Horton was asked about the possibility of the regional carriers being spun off and responded, “We’ll keep them as part of the larger airline. It’s one of those things we’ll have to work on over time, but certainly there’s nothing to announce.”
With an on-board premium product that is already similar (US Airways Envoy class uses the same seats that the New American airlines does on their 777-300ER) and with a modern fleet, we can hope that this will be a positive match. It is likely that AA/US do not plan to experience some of the same issues that plagued the United/Continental merger and as long as everything goes smoothly, the new American will be official once it clears bankruptcy court in the 3rd Quarter of 2013.
MORE AMERICAN AIRLINES / US AIRWAYS MERGER STUFF:
Story written by Malcolm Muir and David Parker Brown