OneWorld Alliance was for a time, the best alliance going. Not because they had the most connectivity or partners. But rather, because, if you were flying on multiple OneWorld partners, whether it was on one Passenger Name Record (PNR)–and believe me, the acronym doesn’t make much sense–or multiple PNRs, you were covered, whether you were delayed by weather, mechanical, or even a Unicorn–If you’ve ever been delayed by a Unicorn, let me know, that’d be an awesome post!
Back to OneWorld Alliance. According to Gary Leff, some airlines are backing away from this protection. Personally, I find it interesting that this is happening so close to the AAdvantage Program Changes. Personally speaking, I value the protections that used to be offered by OneWorld Alliance, to the point where I would book flights on OW partners, purely for those protections. I totally realize that this was unique to OneWorld Alliance. Star Alliance never did this–to my knowledge–, and SkyTeam well, they barely play well among partners, let alone among others.
Gary does report that American Airlines’ policy is still consistent to treat two PNR’s as a single ticket and provide protections. However, the fact remains. If some OneWorld partners are backing away from this protection, than is it really worth choosing OneWorld partners, over an airline that has the schedule and price that best meets your needs?
Wrapping Up – OneWorld Alliance – Disincentivizing Loyalty
There’s been a lot of news in the past few weeks, that have shown that loyalty may in fact be dead. American’s program changes sealed the deal for the legacy airlines, in highlighting that it is better to be a free agent. While these changes don’t move the needle terribly, they do highlight–for me–that the OneWorld alliance, which has been growing in recent years, clearly doesn’t have the governance to maintain one of the most important benefits of flying multiple alliance carriers. The protection is very key, but not even through-checking baggage, well that just tells customers that you–the airline–don’t care about them. That may be an easy message to send now, with a good US economy, but, how will that message be received in a lesser economy?