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There are currently three major airline alliances: Star Alliance, oneworld, and SkyTeam – each of these alliances have several member airlines which closely cooperate to enable passengers a smooth journey when flying multiple airlines. While airline alliances do allow airlines to work closely together, it actually isn’t the highest possible form of partnership – that’s a joint venture (where airlines even share revenue on certain routes).

Benefits when Flying within Alliances

When flying on several alliance member airlines all on one ticket, you can generally expect a smooth journey without having to do much beyond the regular check-in process, even if your travel is on multiple airlines.

  • when you initially check in, your boarding passes can be printed all the way to your final destination (even if there are multiple airlines involved)
  • your baggage can be checked to your final destination (even if multiple airlines are involved)
  • you can earn frequent flyer miles and points with any other program in the same alliance
  • airline A can change certain travel aspects on your journey for travel on airlines B, C, D, etc. if they are all in the same alliance
  • you can use lounges of other airlines within the same alliance even if flying on another airline (you could be flying Lufthansa and use a United lounge thanks to your Aegean Gold status)

There are also a few other benefits which include services like connecting flight monitoring (if your flight is delayed and you miss your connection, you should be rebooked before you even land), airline co-location in airport terminals for easier transit, and more.

Frequent Flyer Benefits

Frequent flyer benefits apply alliance-wide, for example, if you have Lufthansa Star Alliance Gold Status, you would receive your usual Star Alliance Gold benefits when flying with any other Star Alliance member airline (like lounge access or priority boarding). You would also earn miles on eligible tickets with your frequent flyer program when flying any member airline.

While there are benefits that do carry over when flying other airlines within the same alliance, some elite status perks do not apply for travel on all airlines. For example, if you have United elite status, you are eligible to receive complimentary space-available upgrades when flying United – you wouldn’t receive this benefit on any other member airline as this is a specific benefit of United elite status which only applies when flying on United.

Standard benefits like priority check-in, priority boarding, lounge access, an extra checked bag, etc. apply alliance-wide.

Star Alliance member airlines

Star Alliance is the world’s biggest airline alliance and features the following member airlines:

  • Aegean Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air India
  • Air New Zealand
  • ANA
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Austrian Airlines
  • Avianca
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • Egyptair
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • SAS Scandinavian Airlines
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • SWISS International Air Lines
  • TAP Air Portugal
  • THAI Airways
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United Airlines

Star Alliance also has Connecting Partner airlines which include Juneyao Airlines and THAI Smile.

oneworld member airlines

oneworld is the smallest airline alliance, however most member airlines are world-class and provide top quality service, members include:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas Airways
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian
  • SriLankan Airlines

Fiji Airways is a oneworld connect member and Oman Air is set to join oneworld in the future.

SkyTeam member airlines

SkyTeam has plenty of airlines, but only a few are actually worth flying as most of the other airlines aren’t great at all; members include:

  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • Aeromexico
  • AirEuropa
  • Air France
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern
  • CSA Czech Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • ITA Airways
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • MEA
  • Saudia
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Xiamen Air

ITA Airways is kind of a member and kind of not, the airline was formerly Alitalia and now the current SkyTeam membership isn’t fully complete.

All in All: Airline Alliances

Airline alliances are amazing – being able to fly somewhere where your airline cannot take you and being able to enjoy your usual set of perks and benefits all the way to your final destination is one of the greatest things about flying. Alliance-wide elite status benefits are very important for loyal passengers and they truly make a difference when flying.

Being able to fly a ton of different airlines and earn miles in just one frequent flyer program is yet another big benefit – earning elite status is much easier as you have a wide variety of airlines to select from and different programs in which you can participate; some offer the ability to earn elite status quicker. Flying is such a joy, but flying with elite status is even better – especially when receiving all of the benefits alliance-wide.

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