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6. April 2021
by Varun Sharma
Alaska Airlines - the fifth-largest US carrier by passenger numbers – has joined the oneworld alliance which includes American Airlines, Quantas and British Airways. Fourteen global airlines now make up oneworld - serving 1,000 destinations in more than 170 territories.
Based in Seattle, Alaska Airlines was formed in 1932 (initially as McGee Airways) and has grown steadily. In 2016, it acquired Virgin America and it now boasts a fleet of over 300 aircraft ranging from Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s to Bombardier Q400s and Embraer 175s. The airline mainly flies within the United States but there are services to Canada, Costa Rica, and Mexico.
Although Alaska Airlines announced its intention to join oneworld in February 2020, it formally joins the alliance at an important time as flight bookings have started to accelerate, especially in the United States.
“Joining oneworld is joining a family of the best airlines in the world,” said Alaska Airlines’ CEO Ben Minicucci. “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.”
Alaska Airlines has long enjoyed partnerships with several oneworld members including American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Finnair. Its most recent collaboration has been with Qatar Airlines – which has launched a non-stop Doha to Seattle service. The airline is also retaining relationships with its non-alliance partners that includes Korean Air, Emirates and Singapore Airlines.
This is all great news for Alaska Airlines passengers – especially those who earn and redeem frequent-flier miles. In January this year, the airline announced a new top elite status tier – MVP 100K – offering holders bonus mileage, priority check-in and boarding, lounge access and an even better chance of a complimentary upgrade. Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75K and MVP 100K customers can now enjoy oneworld’s Emerald status – the highest the alliance offers.