What are alliances?
Alliances are essentially collaborations among airlines. They want to streamline their schedules and increase connectivity. It also artificially helps their airline “grow” as they can market flights to many other destinations through their partners.
One of the main reasons that airlines join alliances is because they want to get more traffic. For instance, if I am traveling on Lufthansa from Frankfurt, Germany to Buffalo, New York, I will have to make a connection. Since Lufthansa and United are part of the same alliance, United has the opportunity to fly you the last mile generating revenue. It also allows airlines to streamline their flight schedules to create a more seamless experience with lower connection times.
Partners also mean that if you experience trouble then there are alliance liaisons that can get the word out. For instance, if your baggage gets lost on a multi-carrier itinerary, partners usually have systems that ensure your bag makes it to its final destination.
The most important reason for alliances is frequent-flier programs. Through alliances, we can redeem miles on one airline for travel on another. For instance, United MileagePlus points can be redeemed for a Lufthansa flight, and vice-versa. This is because both airlines are part of the Star Alliance network.
There are three major alliances: Star Alliance, Oneworld, and SkyTeam. There are also frequent flier benefits with each alliance such as Star Alliance Gold or Oneworld Emerald. In future posts, I will detail each of the alliances!