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Role Of Alliance Members In Crisis Situations  
User currently offlineCapEd388 From United States of America, joined Feb 2011, 233 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3615 times:

I searched to see if there was a similar thread already on here and I didn't find anything so here it goes.

I was just wondering what the role of alliance members are when a partner is in crisis mode. A great example would be what is going on right now with Qantas. Are the alliance partners (OneWorld) obligated to help out or is up to them to decide whether they want to offer assistance or not, because it seems to me that none of them have offered assistance as of now. Another great example would be when Mexicana ceased operations, what is the role/obligation of partners in that sort of situation. I just wanted to know if it is normal for them to help or are they just supposed to stand back and let the airline in crisis resolve their own issues.

By crisis I mean: Ceased operations (Bankruptcy), Grounded due to other reasons (e.g. Qantas), Natural disaster, Government/political situation etc.

I always thought, maybe wrongly so, that the partners were supposed to help out their "friends" in need.

Any opinion, insight and knowledge is greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

-CapEd388


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21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineWhatUsaid From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 667 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3505 times:

I can tell you that last year, when Qantas parked the 380's, American did nothing to help us, even though we'd used AA miles for the trip to Sydney on QF. Qantas simply said "find a way to Sydney or wait". I was out of pocket about $7K by the time that mess was over with. It was after our return that I was able to get AA to provide some frequent flyer miles and Qantas to provide ticket vouchers to offset some (not all) of the costs associated with my reroute. There was virtually no communication between AA and QF regarding the grounding or the need to rebook. AA wasn't even aware of the grounding when I spoke to reservations on day 2 of the grounding. After the trip, the airlines actually fought back and forth as to where the responsibility was for mishandling our reservation. So much for my Elite status - it meant nothing. I would expect that many thousands are finding the same situation with the latest QF mess.

User currently offlineCapEd388 From United States of America, joined Feb 2011, 233 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3483 times:

Quoting WhatUsaid (Reply 1):

Oh wow, sorry to hear what you went through, I think that is not supposed to happen.

I feel that should be a fundamental feature in an alliance: Helping partners in need. What is the point of being in an "alliance" if you don't have your partners backs, that kind of makes the alliance useless.

It should be a requirement in an alliance, to offer assistance in some form or another to a partner in need.

They can make money off each other, yet when it comes to helping each other out, they turn their backs....seems odd.



388 346 77W 787
User currently offlinecrAAzy From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 803 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3390 times:
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I think it really depends on the network overlap and the individual agreements that the airlines have with one another.

For example, AA and BA are in a much better position to help their flyers out in "a crisis" due to the ATI agreement, overlapping routes, and AA's network to Europe.

AA and QF - very limited, even with new JV.

BA and QF - much easier.

CX and QF - you would think these two could do a lot for each other but not sure how things are working out during this QF grounding since they see each other more as competitors than partners from what I understand.

QF and JL - ??? no idea here.

Of course it would be a little unrealistic for an airline to cancel other flights in it's network just to books capacity in "crisis markets".

[Edited 2011-10-30 20:49:10]

[Edited 2011-10-30 20:49:29]

User currently onlineLX138 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2009, 403 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 3080 times:

Quoting crAAzy (Reply 3):
I think it really depends on the network overlap and the individual agreements that the airlines have with one another.

Agreed.

However people still overate the alliance structure. The airlines are all separate businesses at the end of the day and particularly in OneWorlds case I don't think many of the member carriers shed too many tears at the woes of another alliance member.

Regarding the QF situation, I would doubt that AA would have any interest if whats going on.

BA - the only thing they care about is the codeshare flights that BA passengers are ticketed on which are operated by QF flights. Apart from that they couldn't care less about what happens at QF.

CX - couldn't give an absolute monkeys what goes on at QF. Infact they are probably seeing a boost in business due to the overlap in competition they have.

JL - again, far more pressing issues than helping QF.



StarWorld Team - The ultimate airline alliance
User currently offlinepnd100 From Canada, joined Mar 2009, 343 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2939 times:

I had an experience where the BA office at the airport I was at was closed & I needed some urgent travel assistance / advice. I remembered the in flight announcements that encouraged passengers to contact BA or any of their Oneworld partners should the need arise.

Confidently I walked into the QF office hoping for assistance only to be met with flat refusal to even consider helping me because my ticket was with BA. While I understand that not every situation can be helped by an alliance partner, the willingness to at least listen / comfort a passenger should not be outside the scope of duty.

The story at least ends well 15 hours later when a customer savvy BA agent upgraded me to World Traveller Plus for my journey to LHR. This is only one experience by one person but I think the idea of alliance partners helping out is mostly a facade.


User currently offlinetymnbalewne From Bermuda, joined Mar 2005, 953 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2745 times:

AA BWI asked BA BWI for help during last Saturday's snowstorm. Seems that AA had an international diversion to BWI but no one on duty at AA had badges to permit access into the customs hall, (AA has no int'l service to/from BWI). The BA manager said, "no" even after the airport authority also asked BA for assistance. It would've taken one person for a short period of time but still, BA said "no."


Dewmanair...begins with Dew
User currently offlineoffloaded From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2009, 905 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2699 times:

When Swissair and Varig went bust I had clients with tickets for both, and no other alliance members would honour them. I assumed that they knew if they did, they wouldn't get paid, so why do it?


To no one will we sell, or deny, or delay, right or justice - Magna Carta, 1215
User currently offlinelofty From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2008, 322 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 2529 times:

I am surprised to hear about BA not supporting QF, for example when the QF A380s were grounded BA at the request of QF operated BA B747 under QF flight numbers.

I guess this time QF did not ask or we did not have the aircraft or crews to help out. I know at LHR if I have any problems I can call any of the other OW airlines and they will help and I will do the same if asked.


User currently offlinesalmonela From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 64 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 2529 times:

Good example of inter-allinace cooperation can be seen from this weekend as a result of AF strike in France.

AF canceled 12 transatlantic flights. DL upgraded their CDG-JFK B767-300ER to B747-400, and CDG-ATL from B767-300ER to A330-300 on 29-31OCT in order to provide additional lift to stranded AF passengers.


User currently offlineCapEd388 From United States of America, joined Feb 2011, 233 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2375 times:

Quoting lofty (Reply 8):
I know at LHR if I have any problems I can call any of the other OW airlines and they will help and I will do the same if asked.
Quoting salmonela (Reply 9):
AF canceled 12 transatlantic flights. DL upgraded their CDG-JFK B767-300ER to B747-400, and CDG-ATL from B767-300ER to A330-300 on 29-31OCT in order to provide additional lift to stranded AF passengers.

I think these are great examples of what SHOULD happen when airlines face tough time or unexpected conflicts. I am glad to hear that at least some airlines are still being good allies.



388 346 77W 787
User currently offlineikramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21582 posts, RR: 59
Reply 11, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2356 times:

Quoting CapEd388 (Reply 10):
I think these are great examples of what SHOULD happen when airlines face tough time or unexpected conflicts. I am glad to hear that at least some airlines are still being good allies.

Hard to say. It's similar to those who think embargos should be circumvented. I'm not a strike supporter myself, but what you are basically saying is that if there is a labor dispute, other airlines should come in to help out the company in question to weaken the position of labor (less impact means weaker position). I'm sure there are many union members here who would take offense to that...



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9817 posts, RR: 52
Reply 12, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2317 times:

Alliances don't mean a whole lot. They are helpful as alliance members usually have interline agreements in place and are very helpful when codesharing exists.

However, it is pure marketing that people think a Oneworld airline is more likely to operate extra flights to help another one out. Unless there is a joint venture like AA/BA, UA/LH, DL/NW, BA/QF, AF/KL, then it does not mean much. Airlines work together every day when it comes to maintenance and general operations.

For example, behind the marketing scenes, UA and DL have a fairly good relationship as far as operations go. The two pool spare parts across their network and will rebook passengers on each other very easily. UA also has a good relationship with CX as they frequently loan resources between the two in LAX, SFO & HKG. NZ and QF are also very close.

QF does a lot of work for NZ and ground handles them at some Australia airports. Despite not being marketing partners, I'm sure the two airlines are working together.

With all that said, I'm sure sometimes alliances do help as they often are a symbol of heavy cooperation, but in reality, the operations centers of the airlines don't care one thing about what alliance an airline is in. Their job is to move the passengers and keep the planes flying. Marketing can worry about revenue and branding.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineCapEd388 From United States of America, joined Feb 2011, 233 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2280 times:

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 11):
Hard to say. It's similar to those who think embargos should be circumvented. I'm not a strike supporter myself, but what you are basically saying is that if there is a labor dispute, other airlines should come in to help out the company in question to weaken the position of labor (less impact means weaker position). I'm sure there are many union members here who would take offense to that...

That is not what I am saying at all, keep in mind that I also mentioned other circumstances like bankruptcies and natural disasters when airlines might be crippled and might need some assistance.

What I said has nothing to do with "weakening the position of labor", It has to do with thousands of stranded passengers who are left in the middle of airports or their entire traveling plans are cancelled because of problems with the airline, wouldn't it be ideal to have a partner help out those stranded passengers. Why should passengers suffer because of some tiff between the unions and management? So you are saying that airlines trying to help out and aide innocent stranded passengers should not try to assist because they might step on the unions' toes? I think a lot of passengers/travelers would take offense to that.



388 346 77W 787
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 26003 posts, RR: 22
Reply 14, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2233 times:

Quoting CapEd388 (Reply 13):
It has to do with thousands of stranded passengers who are left in the middle of airports or their entire traveling plans are cancelled because of problems with the airline, wouldn't it be ideal to have a partner help out those stranded passengers.

They do. All airlines, not just alliance partners, help out in most of these situations by accepting rerouted passengers but with load factors often averaging 80% or higher, there is a limit to how many displaced passenges they can handle.

Where they're unlikely to assist is in the case of bankruptcy since they're unlikely to get paid. Airlines aren't charitable institutions. Of course if governments compensate other carriers for carrying stranded passengers when an airline goes bust, that would also be a factor.


User currently offlinecofannyc From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 215 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 2142 times:

Quoting CapEd388 (Reply 10):
I think these are great examples of what SHOULD happen when airlines face tough time or unexpected conflicts. I am glad to hear that at least some airlines are still being good allies.

But DL already flies to CDG...what was AA supposed to do? Cancel its own flights to ferry planes to SYD to fly people around for QF?

Quoting CapEd388 (Reply 13):
It has to do with thousands of stranded passengers who are left in the middle of airports or their entire traveling plans are cancelled because of problems with the airline, wouldn't it be ideal to have a partner help out those stranded passengers. Why should passengers suffer because of some tiff between the unions and management?

What about the 1000s of passengers that would be stranded when alliance partners move their capacity to the "crisis" region? I'm sure BA, CX, JL and LA have taken all the QF pax that they can, but airline capacity isn't always that flexible; you can't always just add more seats to a destination.


User currently offlinegenybustrvlr From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 261 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 2089 times:

I suspect that the cooperation ends with filling empty seats @ the interline or codeshare rates. Any additional assistance (up gauging, wet leases, etc.) would, IMO, be opportunistic business ventures.

*A handles irregular ops w/ partners very well. I have been re-booked onto partner carriers without even making a call and given multiple options when UA has irregular ops. Most recent example was FCO to SFO in the summer. There was no UA 747 in FRA (don't know why) for my connection and I was given the choice of going home UA (via IAD) that day or staying over and taking LH direct to SF the next morning. I opted for LH in order to have a night in Frankfurt and take my first A380 ride the next morning. I had a similar situation with ANA this year too - although I was not give a choice in that case.


User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9817 posts, RR: 52
Reply 17, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 2074 times:

Quoting genybustrvlr (Reply 16):
Most recent example was FCO to SFO in the summer. There was no UA 747 in FRA (don't know why) for my connection and I was given the choice of going home UA (via IAD) that day or staying over and taking LH direct to SF the next morning. I opted for LH in order to have a night in Frankfurt and take my first A380 ride the next morning. I had a similar situation with ANA this year too - although I was not give a choice in that case.

In the case of a Joint Venture like that where they both code share, it makes no difference which airline you were on between UA and LH since they revenue share. That's a good example of an alliance being very helpful.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineCapEd388 From United States of America, joined Feb 2011, 233 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 1977 times:

Quoting cofannyc (Reply 15):
What about the 1000s of passengers that would be stranded when alliance partners move their capacity to the "crisis" region? I'm sure BA, CX, JL and LA have taken all the QF pax that they can, but airline capacity isn't always that flexible; you can't always just add more seats to a destination.

Im not suggesting that airlines cancel and leave their own customers for the needs of another carrier. Keep in mind my original questions. I simply wanted to know if alliance members are obligated to help or not. I also asked about assistance in any form of assistance such as offering club/lounge access to FFP members of the airline in crisis, like Virgin Australia did recently or offering assistance at the airport to the stranded passengers, such as information etc. I didn't necessarily mean that a member airline should interrupt their routes and schedules to help out another airline.

I know that in some cases where there is overlap, it is easier for airlines to offer help, but I know that depends on the relationship of the airlines in question and the scenario.



388 346 77W 787
User currently offlineTruemanQLD From Australia, joined Feb 2007, 1596 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 1905 times:

In QF case, I would assume if the 'drama' went on for too long (i.e. more than 2 days) they would have called in for help from BA (on the Kangaroo route), but apart from that they are stuck. JL has enough of its own problems, AA is too far away and could probably cover a LAX-SYD flight, but I doubt it. CX wouldnt even think about it, unless QF provided good financial incentive.

Usually, I would expect the alliance airlines to be able to cover for another, QF is just difficult as so many of its partner airlines dont fly to Australia. For example, if BA stopped flying, AA would be able to cover for a fair chunk of the US-UK flying etc


User currently offlineAirlineCritic From Finland, joined Mar 2009, 737 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1868 times:

Quoting WhatUsaid (Reply 1):
American did nothing to help us

I am a OneWorld Emerald flyer, but OneWorld isn't much of an alliance. You can get miles by flying any of the airlines, but that's about it. You can't upgrade based on miles on one of the other airlines. Your status, unless at the Emerald level, means nothing when attempting to get to another airline's lounge. You are not given preferred seating. Formally, you can't use the speed lanes in LHR security (though the agents do not necessarily know this, so you may be in luck). If somebody's luggage is thrown off the plane, its yours.

American Airlines helping you with your troubles in another alliance member? Forget it. They would not even help you if you were flying on their metal. Been there, done that.


User currently offlineMAS777 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 1999, 2937 posts, RR: 6
Reply 21, posted (3 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 1695 times:

I gather many passengers from QF sticken flights were offered alternative travel plans with Malaysia Airlines on this occasion.

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