At the Qatar press conference on January 12, 2016 in Beverly Hills, with LAWA Director Deborah Flint, His Excellency GCEO Akbar Al Baker, and Qatar’s VP for the Americas Gunther Saurwein (L-R) – Photo: John Nguyen | AirlineReporter
Qatar Airways held a press conference on Tuesday to highlight the carrier’s entry into the Los Angeles market, with His Excellency, Qatar Group CEO Akbar Al Baker, providing his insights into the new service, as well has having some choice words regarding what he views as an unwarranted attack on his airline by the three big US-based carriers. AirlineReporter was on hand to live-tweet the event, and Al Baker did not disappoint.
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.
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