aword from oneworld: April 2004

29 April 2004

oneworld carriers take honours in 'world's largest passenger survey': oneworldTM  airlines have emerged with flying colours what claims to be the largest independent survey of the airline industry, winning more plaudits than carriers in the other two global alliance alliances combined.

In the latest annual Skytrax Airline of the Year "barometer of airline passenger opinions" โ€“ in which almost 11 million votes were cast by more than 90 nationalities โ€“ oneworld carriers took 17 placings, against 14 by Star members and two by SkyTeam partners. Cathay Pacific took top honours for Best First Class, with Qantas second. British Airways was voted Best Business Class, with Qantas third.

oneworld airlines have also received more nominations than carriers from any other alliance in this year's Airline of the Year awards, sponsored by OAG, the flight information group. oneworld's eight partners have been shortlisted 21 times, while Star's 14 partners received 18 nominations, and SkyTeam's six members gained two. The winners will be announced on 20 May.

American moves alongside BA at London Gatwick: American Airlines has moved alongside its oneworld partner British Airways at London Gatwick's North Terminal in one of the most significant moves of the year by oneworld partners to bring their operations together at key airports around the world, smoothing connections for passengers transferring between their flights. AA is also now using BA's lounges at Gatwick. American operates daily non-stops between Gatwick and both Dallas/Fort Worth and Raleigh/Durham, and code-shares beyond Gatwick on selected British Airways flights.

ยท In another airport "co-location", Iberia has switched services from Stuttgart's Terminal 3 to the airport's Terminal 1, where its premium passengers are now offered the use of British Airways' lounges.

AA and BA become latest oneworld partners to offer interline e-ticketing: Interline e-ticketing (IET) is now in place between oneworld's two biggest partners - American Airlines and British Airways - keeping the world's most international airline grouping on track to become the first global alliance to offer this customer convenience between all of its members by the end of this year.

The UK carrier plans to cutover with Qantas soon, and then with Aer Lingus and Finnair, with the remaining oneworld partners during the subsequent few months. American is also scheduled to start offering interline e-ticketing with the Irish carrier this month, and then with Iberia. That will make American the first oneworld member to offer this benefit with all of the other alliance partners.

Conference sales product eventflyer wins its biggest contract yet: eventflyer, oneworld's new sales product for the conference and conventions market, has won its biggest contract so far, to fly up to 14,000 delegates from around the world to the Baptist World Congress in Birmingham, UK, in July 2005.

 

LanChile and affiliates form LAN alliance, focused on world-class service: LanChile and oneworld affiliates LanExpress and LanPeru have created the LAN alliance, together with LanEcuador and LanDominicana, which are currently not part of oneworld. The move reflects the carriers' strategy of establishing themselves collectively as the best airline serving Latin America and one of the best globally, with "world class products" backed by operations to the highest international standards of safety, security and efficiency and delivered with "the warmth and friendliness of Latin America's people" on all routes they independently serve.

All five participating LAN alliance carriers will offer a common level of service on the ground and in the air, "ensuring that their passengers enjoy a travel experience that is unique, with every detail specially developed to provide excellence and with the same level of safety, attention and efficiency no matter with which of the participating airlines they fly".

 

Cathay Pacific completes roll out of its new business class lie-flat beds: Cathay Pacific has now installed its New Business Class cabin throughout its entire longhaul fleet, offering lay-flat seat, which extends to a full 6 ft 3 ins. British Airways already offers fully-flat beds in its Club World longhaul business cabin. Qantas has started installing lie-flat beds in its equivalent cabin, and Iberia will be doing so from the next few months.

Finnair to serve hot meals again on longer European flights: Finnair is reintroducing hot meals on its European scheduled flights more than two hours long from 5 May in response to customer demand. Business Class passengers on its Copenhagen, Gothenberg, Moscow and Oslo services will also receive hot breakfasts on morning departures.

 

Iberia to fly Europe's only non-stops to Montevideo: Iberia is to launch flights between its Madrid hub and Montevideo from 6 July, providing the only non-stops between Europe and the Uruguayan capital, cutting three hours from the current fastest travel times. It will operate the route initially three times a week with Airbus A340-300s, offering 250 seats in three classes of cabin. Iberia is the leading carrier between Europe and Latin America. Montevideo will be its 20th destination in the region, and the 15th served non-stop. oneworld partners American Airlines and LAN already serve Montevideo.

 

American adds another route to Japan: American Airlines has launched its fifth route to Japan, with daily non-stops between Los Angeles and Tokyo Narita. The flights provide convenient connections at Tokyo with services by oneworld partner Cathay Pacific to points throughout Asia.

Its regional affiliate American Eagle is meantime adding a number of new connections. From Dallas/Fort Worth it will fly to Nassau from 10 June and to Peoria (Illinois) from 15 July, and from Raleigh/Durham to Providence from 1 July and Austin from 1 October.

LAN launches Lima-Mexico City link: Mexico City is the latest destination added by LAN's LanPeru, a oneworld affiliate. It is now flying between Lima and Mexico City three times a week, with Boeing 767-300s. Since February, the airline has launched flights between the Peruvian capital and Bogota, Buenos Aires, Caracas and Quito.

 

BA to give business passengers more sleep on flights from Gulf and USA: British Airways has introduced changes to its service for passenger flying in its Club World (longhaul business) cabin on a total of 17 overnight flights from North America and the Middle East to London Heathrow, designed to help them maximise their sleep. They include more dining options before, during and after the flight, a quieter cabin environment, with the flat-bed seats accompanied by larger pillows with higher quality and thicker blankets.

 

Aer Lingus speeds check-in at Dublin: Aer Lingus has installed self-service check-in machines at its Dublin hub, smoothing and speeding the departure process for passengers.

 

Baggage allowances change for Cathay Pacific and LAN passengers: Cathay Pacific is the latest oneworld airline to limit the weight of any single item of checked baggage to no more than 32 kgs (70 lbs) to maintain safety standards for its baggage handlers. Any passenger with a piece of check-in baggage exceeding that limit will be asked to repack its contents in separate bags. Meantime, LAN has increased it carry-on baggage allowance for passengers in its economy class, from 5 to 8 kgs from today. The limit on dimensions remains the same, at length, width and depth measuring no more than a combined 115 cm.

 

oneworld in brief: oneworld brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business - American Airlines, British Airways, Qantas, Iberia, Cathay Pacific, LAN, Finnair and Aer Lingus - enabling them to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own. These include a broader route network, opportunities to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles and points across the combined oneworld network and more airport lounges. Together, its members serve more countries than any other alliance โ€“ 135 territories and more than 570 destinations - and oneworld offers more alliance fare and sales products, serving more markets, than all its competitors combined. Its members' 1,900 aircraft operate nearly 8,000 flights a day. Swiss International Air Lines has been voted a member elect. A date for it to start offering oneworld services and benefits will be announced in due course.