There are three alliances in the world of Air Travel:
- Star Alliance
- OneWorld and
Of these three, Star Alliance has been a very dominant alliance – mainly because of the sheer number of airlines they have (28 at the time of posting this), as opposed to OneWorld (13) and SkyTeam (19). Across their members, Star Alliance also had probably the best coverage across the globe. Even to India and the Middle East, which have no local airline as a Star Alliance member, Star Alliance had daily good coverage, with multiple airlines flying there. For example, to India alone, Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, United, Ethiopian, Turkish Airlines, South African, THAI, ANA and Singapore Airlines all have flights.
Personal Alliance Allegiance:
Personally, I have always used Star Alliance as my first option to fly, earning Miles on United. OneWorld has been my second option, earning miles on British Airways. Based on the rest of this years travel plans, my Star Alliance Gold is retained for next year (already done), but my OneWorld Status will surely not be renewed.
Qatar and US Airways:
But that all changed this year with two major events for OneWorld:
- Qatar joined OneWorld
- US Airways and American Airline decided to merge
These two very significant shifts have made OneWorld a serious contender. They now are better than Star Alliance in some areas – coverage to the Middle East with Qatar and Royal Jordanian, and much more domestic US coverage with the new bigger, better (?) post-merger American Airlines. Yes, SkyTeam had Saudia, but it’s Saudia…
For Star Alliance, Turkish is the most interesting recent addition. They are a European/Asian airline, given their location, and also offer an alternate routing to the Middle East and Asia, thru Turkey.
Star Alliance vs. One World, which one to pick?
Is it now worth taking a look at One World to be my primary alliance? I will take an in-depth look in part II.
What is your primary Alliance and why? Do share by leaving a comment below.