On 1 February 1999, five airlines created the Oneworld alliance. At the time, the new alliance promised to “make it as easy as possible for passengers to connect between one another’s flights, effectively creating a worldwide route network that will make global travel more convenient for consumers”. Twenty years on, four of Oneworld’s founding members – Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and American Airlines – are still going strong. The fifth founding member, Canadian Airlines, has been defunct since 2000.
Over the past two decades, many other airlines have joined the Oneworld alliance. Aside from the member airlines we see today, former members include Aer Lingus, Airberlin, Malev and Mexicana. Nowadays, Oneworld has these 13 member airlines:
At the start of this month, all of the Oneworld airline CEOs gathered in London to mark the 20thanniversary of the Oneworld alliance. This included Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who is also the current Chairman of Oneworld. A range of announcements were made to mark the occasion, including new Oneworld-branded lounges and a re-positioning of the Oneworld brand.
The updated brand includes the new tagline of “travel bright”, which is a change from the “Oneworld revolves around you” slogan used back in 1999. As part of the changes, Oneworld has also launched a new website and mobile App. However, the new Oneworld website has copped a fair bit of criticism from AFF members.
It’s horrid (my personal opinion) – and the lounge access page has lost a lot of the information it used to have (fact!).
So after reading all of this I thought I’d check it out for myself…. Wow! What a terrible website. It’s borderline unbelievable.
Moving forward, Oneworld is now looking at co-locating at more airport terminals around the world. This should make life easier for connecting passengers, and operations more efficient for airlines. Beijing, London Heathrow, Sao Paulo and Frankfurt are touted as possible future airports for co-location.
It has not yet been revealed where the new Oneworld-branded lounges will be located. But the first lounge is due to open later this year. Star Alliance and SkyTeam already operate a network of alliance-branded lounges at key hub airports. There is even a SkyTeam Lounge at Sydney Airport.
Time will tell whether the Oneworld alliance will last another two decades. Many airlines nowadays are ditching “outdated” alliances, including Virgin Australia, in favour of building their own partner airline networks. But for airline passengers, there are still many benefits to airline alliances (when everything works as it should). These benefits include greater options for earning and burning frequent flyer points, more seamless access to airport lounges, access to special round-the-world tickets, and more.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: New Oneworld lounges and other 20th anniversary announcements