Marking a milestone in its 89-year history, Alaska Airlines today celebrated its first day as a member of oneworld. Alaska becomes the 14th full member of the global alliance, just eight months after receiving a formal invitation from oneworld in July 2020.
“Joining oneworld is joining a family of the best airlines in the world,” said Ben Minicucci, Alaska’s CEO. “Being a part of the alliance allows us to provide fantastic global connectivity, a seamless travel experience and more valuable loyalty offerings for our guests. This alliance transforms Alaska into a truly global airline, connecting our strong West Coast network and destinations across North America with the worldwide reach of our oneworld partners.”
With safety protocols in place due to the pandemic, Alaska and oneworld hosted a virtual celebration and news conference today in Seattle, the airline’s hometown. Fellow airline members from around the world welcomed Alaska to the alliance with video greetings and provided versions of employees performing the Alaska Safety Dance, briefly renamed the Global Safety Dance.
“With Alaska Airlines now part of oneworld, we are excited to offer to customers even more destinations and flights, strengthened by Alaska’s leading network on the U.S. West Coast,” said oneworld CEO Rob Gurney, who joined Minicucci in Seattle for the event. “For oneworld top-tier customers, the joining of Alaska will provide even more opportunities for their status to be recognised as we look forward to a recovery in international travel.”
For Alaska and its guests, oneworld provides a global network of flights to as many as 1,000 destinations across more than 170 countries and territories*. With its membership in the alliance, Alaska will add seven new airline partners and enhance its six existing partnerships with oneworld members.
“We’re delighted to welcome Alaska to the oneworld family. As the industry recovers from COVID, airline alliances are going to be more important than ever. Alaska will be an asset to the alliance, positioning oneworld to deliver even more value to our customers and member airlines,” said oneworld Governing Board Chairman and Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
Effective today, all Alaska Mileage Plan members can earn miles when they fly any of the other 13 member airlines. Mileage redemption for flights on airlines that Alaska did not have previous partnerships with will occur in the coming months.
Alaska’s elite Mileage Plan members automatically receive matching oneworld tier status: MVP Gold 75K = oneworld Emerald; MVP Gold = oneworld Sapphire; and MVP = oneworld Ruby.
Depending on tier status, those passengers can enjoy a variety of privileges, including access to more than 650 international first and business class lounges*, fast track through security and priority baggage benefits. Guests with Emerald, Sapphire or Ruby status in any oneworld member airline’s frequent flyer program will be able to use priority check-in desks, where available. Also, guests with Emerald or Sapphire status will be offered priority boarding.
“If you’ve been a frequent flier who has earned status with us, all that loyalty will go even further with benefits in oneworld to make your journey even more enjoyable,” said Minicucci.
Flight connectivity becomes easier with Alaska’s membership in oneworld, especially on international bookings, which includes a long-standing partnership with American Airlines. American, a oneworld founding member, sponsored Alaska’s membership into the alliance.
“Alaska has been an outstanding partner to American for nearly 40 years and we’re excited to do even more together in the years to come,” said American Airlines President Robert Isom. “By connecting American’s strength in long-haul international flying and Alaska’s strong presence along the West Coast, we’re building a better network for our customers than either airline could build alone.”
The 14 full members of oneworld are: Alaska Airlines; American Airlines; British Airways; Cathay Pacific Airways; Finnair; Iberia; Japan Airlines; Malaysia Airlines; Qantas; Qatar Airways; Royal Air Maroc; Royal Jordanian; S7 Airlines and SriLankan Airlines. Fiji Airways is a oneworld connect partner offering select alliance benefits to frequent flyers from any oneworld member airline travelling on their flights.
* The reach of the oneworld network in January 2020 when including Alaska Airlines and Royal Air Maroc.