The main players in the OneWorld alliance have wasted little time since their anti-trust immunity deal was approved in making big changes in the way they operate on transatlantic routes. For frequent fliers the main change is that there will no longer be restrictions on earning points across the partners for the flights that cross the Atlantic. This change comes with a drawback for folks who collect AAdvantage points from American Airlines, however, as they will now be required to pay the YQ fuel surcharge on all awards redeemed on British Airways metal, a requirement that did not exist prior to this change.
The other major changes come in route planning and scheduling. On the New York City – London route the carriers have a rather dominating position with 11 daily frequencies. There will be two morning flights out of New York and then nine more in the evening, operating every half hour from 6pm until 10pm. The carriers are describing the new schedule as “shuttle-like” and the claim is rather appropriate.
The carriers are adding new routes in addition to colluding on the existing ones. British Airways will be returning service to San Diego for the third time; the previous two failed pretty badly though San Diego is apparently the largest city in the United States without nonstop service to London. American will be adding service to Budapest, among other routes.
All of these changes should help the carriers compete better against the immunized carriers in the two other major global alliances. And while there certainly will be many instances where there is greater convenience for customers, it seems unlikely that the changes will actually introduce more competition in most markets like the airlines are claiming.
- US DoT approves anti-trust deal for American, British Airways, Iberia
- British Airways – Iberia merger and ATI approved by EU
- SkyTeam, oneworld announce expansion
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