Airlines of the Middle East – Emirates, Etihad, Qatar are all hot commodities. They have excellent service, a great on-board product and are offering more and more routes all over the world. They are also buying up all new aircraft to make their flight experience even better. They also have kept away from alliances and have formed their own network of partners.
United, on the other hand, while it is also expanding its routes to the Middle East, has lost both its airline partners in the Middle East. It lost Emirates as a partner last year and later this year will be losing Qatar as a partner. Both were excellent partners to earn and redeem miles on. I actually almost booked Business class award seats on Qatar for this summer. It did not work out due to availability on the dates I wanted.
What is United’s strategy here? Is it trying to build its Middle East presence so hard that the partners see it as competition rather than ‘partners’? Or did they just piss their partners off and got dropped! What do you think? Are you sad to see Emirates and Qatar go? Leave a comment below.