VC10er
Topic Author
Posts: 4227
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 6:25 am

What have alliances done for “us” lately?

Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:19 pm

I recall the very beginning of Star Alliance and the benefits it offered were totally new and innovative AT THAT TIME!

Recently however it seems to me that not many new passenger innovations have been introduced. If I book a flight on UA that connects to any of the Star partners, you can’t even see a seat map on the other carrier, and even on the phone a representative can’t get you an assigned seat. Even on Lufthansa. I can call Lufthansa or other and select a seat once everything is ticketed.

Being GOLD helps a bit. But as time has passed it seemed that the primary benefit is all about mileage accrual and being able to “potentially” get an award ticket on a partner airline.

Star Lounges (the few I’ve been in) are nice, and I presume the same for OW and SkyTeam. Also, being invited into a partner airline’ Lounge.

My question is: couldn’t alliances be adding more value for the flier? What have they done lately to become a magnet to bring in ff from one alliance into theirs?

On Star, with a bit of a headache and a lot of luck, I can use a UA Global Upgrade on Lufthansa...there were supposed to be more airlines other than LH, but that never happened (to my knowledge).

Is this it now? Is this as far as alliance benefits will go, or can more be done to create more seamless travel and benefits?
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
LAXtoATL
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Re: What have alliances done for “us” lately?

Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:31 pm

I don't think you will see many more (if any) innovations as it relates to alliances.
In fact I think you will find alliances will become more and more irrelevant. The focus now is on JVs and strategic codeshares. This is where I think you will see all the innovations and enhancements over the next 5 years
 
paullam
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Re: What have alliances done for “us” lately?

Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:36 pm

On a recent EZE-SCL-YYZ-FRA-TXL trip booked through Air Canada I was able to see a seat map and select a seat online for my Lufthansa flight from FRA to TXL. I could even do it in the AC app.
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ACA345YYZ
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 10:53 pm

Re: What have alliances done for “us” lately?

Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:39 pm

VC10er wrote:
I recall the very beginning of Star Alliance and the benefits it offered were totally new and innovative AT THAT TIME!

Recently however it seems to me that not many new passenger innovations have been introduced. If I book a flight on UA that connects to any of the Star partners, you can’t even see a seat map on the other carrier, and even on the phone a representative can’t get you an assigned seat. Even on Lufthansa. I can call Lufthansa or other and select a seat once everything is ticketed.

Being GOLD helps a bit. But as time has passed it seemed that the primary benefit is all about mileage accrual and being able to “potentially” get an award ticket on a partner airline.

Star Lounges (the few I’ve been in) are nice, and I presume the same for OW and SkyTeam. Also, being invited into a partner airline’ Lounge.

My question is: couldn’t alliances be adding more value for the flier? What have they done lately to become a magnet to bring in ff from one alliance into theirs?

On Star, with a bit of a headache and a lot of luck, I can use a UA Global Upgrade on Lufthansa...there were supposed to be more airlines other than LH, but that never happened (to my knowledge).

Is this it now? Is this as far as alliance benefits will go, or can more be done to create more seamless travel and benefits?


It is quite useful for myself, being an Air Canada top tier member, to be able to access Star Alliance Gold benefits while I am travelling. It makes a great deal of difference to make a long haul journeys (that I mostly do myself) that much more enjoyable. Benefits that I use a lot are: Priority Luggage/Priority Boarding/ Extra baggage complement/ partner lounge access/ upgrades. Personally, I try and fly with Star Alliance carriers where possible to use the benefits and maintain my status. Also in response to your comment re not being able to see another airline's seat map, often I find that you can use your booking reference and log in to the operating airline's website to select your seat that way (e.g. Air Canada and then connecting to Air New Zealand... go to Air NZ website to select the seats on the connecting flight on Air NZ).
 
DWC
Posts: 608
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:49 pm

Re: What have alliances done for “us” lately?

Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:31 pm

Alliances & Internet have made bookings & travels much easier & cheaper for the consumer. That is a huge achievement.

That said, Alliances are about benefitting airlines & developping a captive public, not to be nice to PAX.
That understood, airlines do what is necessary to retain PAX, principally premium PAX, as Y seats are usually filled by price & yield management.
These past years FF programmes have devalued their points, added and/or severed ties with other Alliance members ( e.g. Alaska is in the process of cutting all ties with Skyteam ) depending on Alliance dynamics & principally on what their major airline(s) do ( LH, UA, BA, AA, DL, AF ). Even the best Legacies are scaling dowm, SQ just unbundled their fares to their advantage ( and not to PAX as is marketed ).

Anyway, because I finance most of my trips & most often fly within Europe where J is joke, I don't usually pay for premium as I find the price for a few perks disproportionate to their utility in my "utility function" ( Econ. term for preferences ), meaning they are induly expensive : with a fraction of the price in J or F you get much more in a good hotel when you land.
With one caveat : the ME3 offer excellent J & F products for a fraction of the price in other airlines, so that until QR joined OW, I systematically aligned with the non-aligned. particularly EK a they have the most extensive network.

In addition, I discovered that points, be it per miles flown or bucks disbursed, were sub-optimal & way less important to me than the connecting hubs or layovers I could manage for free or marginally more, which is what I maximize. I started a conversation on this, on how to route maximizing other items that point within an alliance.
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1379871&p=19988187#p19988187
 
VC10er
Topic Author
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Re: What have alliances done for “us” lately?

Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:06 pm

Ok, yes, I missed the benefit of flying on any Star airline member, putting miles towards my United MP number to get to 1k. However flying other than United metal can’t get you to GS.

After I am ticked I call the partner airline after getting my confirmation number on LH, LX etc, call them to get my seat assignment. I haven’t gone through their website: that’s a duh on my part.

The “metal neutral” deal on UA/LH is helpful. I wish UA had more metal neutral deals with other Star members.

Being Star Gold does indeed incentivize me to stick to Star.

Semi-Related: is Azul going to join Star or stay as just a partner? Any word?
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
avek00
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Re: What have alliances done for “us” lately?

Sat Dec 16, 2017 4:40 pm

I can't speak for all three global alliances, but Star Alliance members undertake *very* robust IT/process collaboration efforts that yield improvements for customers.

For example, a few years ago United and Singapore teamed up on a Single Doc Check initiative that ensures customers on interline international journeys have proper travel documents at initial check in with the first airline...and automatically conveys that info to downline carriers. It's not the kind of sexy stuff that marketing types can tout, but it makes life easier for everyone.
Live life to the fullest.
 
VC10er
Topic Author
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Re: What have alliances done for “us” lately?

Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:11 pm

avek00 wrote:
I can't speak for all three global alliances, but Star Alliance members undertake *very* robust IT/process collaboration efforts that yield improvements for customers.

For example, a few years ago United and Singapore teamed up on a Single Doc Check initiative that ensures customers on interline international journeys have proper travel documents at initial check in with the first airline...and automatically conveys that info to downline carriers. It's not the kind of sexy stuff that marketing types can tout, but it makes life easier for everyone.


I think they should tout it! Perhaps not in airport posters, but on the Star Alliance website!

For me, even if frontline folks said “thanks for being Star Gold” at Egyptair or Air New Zealand even if you’re UA, LX, AC, LH etc, etc... it would be nice.
I mean they spend a lot of money (collectively) to archbishop paint a percentage of their ac with the alliance livery, and don’t get that much for the investment- unless of course they are doing other things retaining and attracting premium FF to stick to one alliance.
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
Cunard
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Re: What have alliances done for “us” lately?

Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:50 am

paullam wrote:
On a recent EZE-SCL-YYZ-FRA-TXL trip booked through Air Canada I was able to see a seat map and select a seat online for my Lufthansa flight from FRA to TXL. I could even do it in the AC app.


And?
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paullam
Posts: 177
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Re: What have alliances done for “us” lately?

Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:37 am

Cunard wrote:
paullam wrote:
On a recent EZE-SCL-YYZ-FRA-TXL trip booked through Air Canada I was able to see a seat map and select a seat online for my Lufthansa flight from FRA to TXL. I could even do it in the AC app.


And?


I was referring to the OP saying that this is not possible.
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jetero
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Re: What have alliances done for “us” lately?

Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:50 am

Star is the way to go as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been SkyTeam top tier as well, and that was 30 shades of absolutely profound uselessness ... truly YMMV.

Understand the seat map complaint but at least the UA website for the past 3+ years gives you the partner airline confirmation number. It seems like yesterday you had to call Rez, and then had to call the other airline’s Rez without any priority to make a seat assignment. As long as the alliance works towards standards for member airlines to be required to do the same, and for all member airlines to be required on their proprietary websites for a passenger to be able to enter a confirmation number and view a seat map, I think that’d be a pretty good outcome.

I also agree that alliances are not what they used to be (but only in hype) and are being replaced by JVs. I say only in hype because every single one of the alliances has gotten better in terms of consistency over time. Maybe not Star from a passenger point of view, but that’s only because they set the (gold?) standard to begin with. It was undoubtedly revolutionary at the time, but I’m not sure what more they can offer, other than to increase Gold requirements.

But anyone who doesn’t realize that JVs in and of themselves are a harbinger of future alliances is an idiot. It’s just old Business Class becoming First Class, which is now Business Class, so you have to create a “Premium Economy” that is the old Business Class kind of thinking.

Rinse, wash, repeat.
 
VC10er
Topic Author
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Re: What have alliances done for “us” lately?

Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:31 pm

I absolutely agree with “hype” which gets to my point about alliance liveries.
May I reveal my ignorance and ask to point out good (as in good for the passenger) JV’s that exist today? KLM/AF? UA/LH? (Or other?)
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
dredgy
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Re: What have alliances done for “us” lately?

Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:09 pm

I’m currently Gold equivalent on Star and Oneworld and have been Skyteam Elite+ before. Apart from lounge access with partner airlines when in economy (which is a moot point when I almost always fly business) there’s no tangible benefit. In fact I’ve often found trying to stay within an alliance on a trip makes life more complicated.

The only way alliances would really have value for me is every flight operated by one carrier is codeshared with every other airline in the alliance. Ideally there’d be a unified frequent flyer program too - different earn rates, different requirements for status, different redemption rates on different airlines etc make everything far too complicated from a passenger perspective.

I’ll take as an example (though this is by no means unique) my recent trip. I wanted to fly DEL-LIS-BEL. Lufthansa sold the ticket like this: DEL-FRA-LIS-FRA-GRU and I had to buy a separate ticket on a non-Star carrier to get to BEL.

Would be fine, except it is completely possible using their Star Alliance Partner TAP (who operated my flights to Lis) to fly: DEL-FRA-LIS-BEL saving me a lot of time and two unnecessary stops in FRA and GRU.

So I tried to book the flights on separate tickets - the flight LIS-BEL was actually a very cheap flight, but the DEL-LIS section doubled in cost. It was not possible to book on a single ticket through Lufthansa. Booking as a single ticket through Star’s website cause the cost to quadruple from booking on separate tickets. So I went the long way and ended up as an unsatisfied customer.

Another thing is I flew Turkish Airlines in full flex business and got the Lufthansa status credits of a discount business fare.

Too many complications and differences in fare rules and frequent flyer benefits - for an alliance to truly be valuable to me, it needs to operate as effectively one airline. Since that will never happen, I won’t be loyal to anyone.
 
mcg
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Re: What have alliances done for “us” lately?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:48 am

Lh won't provide seat selection for any flight booked on UA web site with UA ticket number, in any class of service. I'm UA gold, don't know if higher level members get better treatment. If you book on LH web site, with LH ticket number, you can get seat selection on UA flights on UA web site. Don't understand why it works one way but not the other.

LH does not provided mileage or premier accrual for low priced fares (L fare class if I remember correctly) to UA Mileage Plus accounts. Pretty not-seamless.

Pricing can be quite nonsensical, booked DEN - ZRH recently and the same flights on the same day were priced roughly half on LH website compared to UA website. Swiss didn't offer any UA operated options.

The idea of an alliance is good, but the details sometimes get in the way.

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