web Musings of The Global Traveller

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

No frills alliance

Aer Lingus and JetBlue have announced what they call a ticket-booking alliance. As Upgrade : Travel Better notes, it isn't much compared to the traditional big three alliances (One World, Sky Team and Star Alliance).

However it is a start, and I think a first for what has been whispered for a while now - an alliance between low cost carriers. The traditional alliances are expensive (indeed that is the reason Aer Lingus is leaving One World 31 March 2007). So I wonder what might a no frills alliance look like?

  • codeshares - eventually in order to most easily expand the destinations reached by an airline, otherwise there is little point in having an alliance
  • frequent flyer status benefits - forget about it, no low cost airline has frequent flyer status recognition
  • frequent flyer mileage accrual on partner flights - I suspect not since not all no frills airlines have a frequent flyer program, but could work on the codeshares
  • frequent flyer mileage redemption on partner flights - again only on the codeshares
  • aligned flight schedules - probably only between hubs rather than other points served by networks due to the low cost airlines' desire for maximum flexibility for their own operations
  • aligned network - yes as this lowers the cost of serving remote or small destinations
  • joint marketing and promotions - no
  • interlined baggage (ie checked through when connecting to another airline) - while this would be great for passengers, I can only see this happening for the few low cost airlines that already provide interline baggage

What do you think?

1 comment:

Flight Wisdom Guru said...

We would have to respectfully disagree with you.

Codeshares - Codeshares mean that another carrier can sell tickets on your flights at whatever price they want, and subject to whatever rules. Codeshares confuse passengers by making them think they are flying with one carrier when they truly are not. Aer Lingus does not codeshare on other airlines and currently only allows codeshares for connecting no one can buy the codeshare flight without connecting.

Frequent flyer redemption/accrual - Since we think codesharing is a problem...a better solution is for the frequent flyer program to issue the ticket on the other carrier and pay the other carrier a prenegotiated rate for the seat. Aer Lingus does this with its OneWorld alliance partners. The same goes for accrual...the carrier pays the other carrier for the points...the same way American Express pays for TruBlue points.

Aligned flight schedules - We seriously doubt either carrier will significantly adjust its schedule. For one, Dublin is too overcrowded. The short-haul and the long-haul flights on Aer Lingus at Dublin are not even aligned.

Joint marketing and promotions - Seems to us that this one is the advantage Jetblue and Aer Lingus are looking for above all others.

Interlined baggage - Without this...we don't see the point of selling tickets together. Even if they charge extra for a $5 charge per through-checked bag...


With interline baggage, and hopefully a ticketing agreement, Jetblue can feed Aer Lingus passengers at JFK and Boston...allowing passengers to Ireland and points beyond in Europe to buy a single ticket with luggage transfer. Aer Lingus issues through fares under contract with several characters, most notably American Airlines.

Even if the two tickets are issued separately...the ability to use one single booking interface, get guaranteed luggage checkin...People pay for convenience.

For now...we will wait till the details are negotiated and released to the public...but Aer Lingus will benefit greatly from getting connecting service to/from the cities Jetblue serves. And Jetblue gets the revenue from sale of those seats.