The oneworld alliance has introduced a new platform for joining up airlines called oneworld connect. This essentially allows smaller airlines to join the alliance without having to go to the cost and expense of being a full member.
Fiji Airways will be the first carrier to join the alliance as a oneworld connect member. There are some differences between being a standard member of the alliance, which I will outline below.
Frequent flyers from any airline in the alliance will receive priority check-in as long as they are Ruby, Sapphire or Emerald which is the same as today. Emerald and Sapphire members will also receive priority boarding. There are differences though, which can be seen in the table below.
Airlines must sponsor another airline to be a oneworld connect member. Those airlines and the new connect member offer the full suite of products such as earning and redeeming miles, status points and importantly, lounge access. With Fiji Airways, these are Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and American Airlines.
There are three airlines that instantly spring to mind for the new product. The obvious one is Ireland’s Aer Lingus which was previously a member of the alliance and who still has frequent flyer affiliations with British Airways, Qantas and Cathay Pacific.
Next up, I would think Alaska Airlines would be a prime candidate. They also have frequent flyer links with many oneworld alliance airlines such as American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines, Qantas and LATAM. They even have links with Aer Lingus and Fiji Airways.
The other prime candidate would have to be Canada’s WestJet, though only Qantas is a frequent flyer partner from the alliance. Their other partners are all from SkyTeam. It would be great to have a Canadian carrier back in the fold.
Perhaps there could be other carriers that may be eligible as well. I certainly would be happy to see something interesting like India’s IndiGo joining as a connect member.
This new way of adding airlines to the alliance is a good idea. What is telling is that the frequent flyer benefits for the oneworld connect members are only relevant if that airline has a programme. This leads me to believe that some airlines will be low cost carriers.
What do you think of the potential new members for the oneworld alliance? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image and table via oneworld.
Aer Lingus A320 by captainflorent on Instagram.
Alaska Airlines and WestJet images via the respective companies.