Alaska Airlines, future Oneworld partner is speeding up their entry into the Oneworld alliance. Originally set to join in 2021, will now join by year end, 2020. Alaska Airlines initially announced their plan to join the Oneworld alliance in February 2021 with a timeline of approximately of one year. Yet, due to the pandemic Alaska Airlines has refocused their priority and is speeding up that timeline.
Oneworld Alliance Welcomes Alaska Airlines
Oneworld is excited to be adding their 14th member. Alaska Airlines already coordinates with several Oneworld partners through frequent flyer programs and codeshares. Alaska Airlines now codeshares with oneworld members American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines and Qantas. It also codeshares with oneworld connect partner Fiji Airways. Once Alaska joins Oneworld, they will grow closer with other alliance partners.
I see the possibility of closer coordination with Qatar and Iberia in the very near future. Other Oneworld airlines have little or no service in the US, therefore Alaska will be frequent flyer partners with them, but unlikely to codeshare. These include airlines such as Malaysian, Sri Lankan, s7, etc. Seattle is likely to grow as a major Oneworld hub, and through a partnership with American Airlines who is adding flights to India, China, and UK from Seattle.
The joining of Alaska Airlines will add 34 new destinations to the oneworld network, across North America. The alliance’s network will grow to more than 1,000 destinations in over 170 territories. Based in Seattle, Alaska Airlines and its regional partners serve more than 115 destinations in North America. It operates hubs in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland (Oregon) and Anchorage.
Alaska Air Group maintains an operational fleet of 319 aircraft, comprising the Airbus A320 family, Boeing 737, Embraer 175 and Bombardier Q400.
Alaska Airlines will become oneworld’s 14th member airline and the alliance’s second member airline in the United States. The carrier’s hub in Seattle is in the networks of four oneworld member airlines: American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines.
After joining the alliance, Alaska Airlines will become oneworld’s second new full member in recent years, following the joining of Royal Air Maroc in April 2020.
“We are delighted to welcome Alaska Airlines into oneworld. With its strong position in the US West Coast and its partnership with American Airlines, Alaska Airlines will be a great asset to oneworld, positioning us to deliver even more value to our member airlines and customers,” said oneworld Governing Board Chairman and Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
“We are thrilled about our new West Coast International Alliance with Alaska Airlines and its entrance into oneworld,” said American Airlines Chairman and CEO Doug Parker. “Together, we will continue to deliver more value, benefits and choice for customers as we create the leading network on the West Coast and throughout the world.”
oneworld CEO Rob Gurney said: “The joining of Alaska Airlines will add another high-quality carrier to oneworld, allowing us to offer even more destinations and options to the customers served by our member airlines. It strengthens oneworld’s presence across the key airports on the US West Coast and will build rapidly on the existing partnerships in place between Alaska Airlines and other oneworld members .”
Changes to Alaska Airlines MileagePlan
Alaska Airlines Mileage plan is by far one of the most valuable award programs in its current state. With the addition of several global partners, it is highly likely that a revamp to the program will occur starting in the 2021 program year. Alaska will have to make changes to address their lack of global awards. Many of my perditions related to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan changes remain the same. Travel perks may improve for those who travel globally, but award cost is likely to increase. If you’re considering award travel in 2021, book it before Alaska’s new program changes take effect. If you need help, consider my award booking service.
Alaska joining Oneworld early is a mix bag of news. It’s great for those who want better lounge access and priority on flights, with the opportunity to earn more miles on more partners. On the other hand, it likely means Alaska’s award chart will be gutted and prized first & business class awards will increase in total price.