cooperation agreement between two or more airlines
Travel topics > Transportation > Flying > Airline alliances

What is an airline alliance?Edit

Airline alliances are formed when different airlines agree to substantially cooperate with each other. Advantages for customers include more destinations and more convenient connections, while the airlines benefit by feeding passengers to each other instead of to competitors. For travelers, the most obvious effect of airline alliances is codesharing whereby one airline will sell a seat on a flight with its own flight number, but the flight is performed by a different airline. (Note that not all airlines are part of an airline alliance, and not even all airlines within the same alliance do codeshares with each other.)

Although many airlines in an alliance have subsidiaries, the subsidiaries are often not members of the alliance which the parents are part of.

How does this apply to me?Edit

  • Airline alliances tend to coordinate their flights to ease connections, flying intercontinental flights to each other's hubs, adjusting schedules and grouping one alliance's flights at a single terminal at large airports. They code-share and interline with each other so that you can travel to many more destinations on a single ticket sold by your local airline.
  • You can collect frequent flyer miles when flying on an alliance partner airline. This means for example that a passenger with Qantas can claim mileage when flying with another OneWorld airline such as British Airways.
  • Additionally, status levels that you have on one airline are generally recognized by other airlines in the same alliance. For example, a 'Morning Calm' status with Korean Air will automatically give you 'Elite' status when flying with another airline in the SkyTeam alliance. Thus, you can check in at the Business Class counter, get priority luggage tags, getting emergency exit row seats assigned to you and priority boarding of the aircraft.
  • Travelers can take advantage of a round-the-world ticket, a ticket with the ability to stop at a few countries around the world for a relatively lower price.


Oneworld is the smallest alliance counting by the number of airlines. The member airlines are spread evenly around the world, so it is a workable option when planning a long multi-point trip such as for a round the world flight. It was the first alliance to introduce interlining e-tickets.


Airline Country Hubs Frequent flyer
Lounges IATA
American Airlines   United States Charlotte, Chicago - O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York - JFK, New York - LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Washington - Reagan AAdvantage Admirals Club, Flagship Lounge AA
British Airways   United Kingdom London - Heathrow, London - Gatwick Executive Club Various BA
Cathay Pacific   Hong Kong Hong Kong Asia Miles/Marco Polo Club Various CX
Finnair   Finland Helsinki Finnair Plus Finnair Lounge AY
Iberia   Spain Madrid Iberia Plus Sala VIP IB
Japan Airlines   Japan Tokyo - Narita, Tokyo - Haneda, Osaka - Kansai JAL Mileage Bank Sakura Lounge JL
LATAM Airlines   Chile Santiago LANPass Lounge Neruda & Mistral LA
Malaysia Airlines   Malaysia Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching Enrich Golden Lounge MH
Qantas   Australia Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth Qantas Frequent Flyer Qantas Club QF
Qatar Airways   Qatar Doha Privilege Club Premium Lounge QR
Royal Jordanian   Jordan Amman Royal Plus Crown Lounge RJ
S7 Airlines   Russia Moscow - Domodedovo, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk S7 Priority S7 Business lounges (Moscow, Novosibirsk) S7
SriLankan Airlines   Sri Lanka Colombo FlySmiLes Serendib Lounge UL
Royal Air Maroc*   Morocco Casablanca Safar Flyer Casablanca Lounge AT

*Plans to join alliance on April 1, 2020


SkyTeam is the latest alliance to be formed. It has a particularly strong network in Europe.


Airline Country Hubs Frequent flyer
Lounges IATA
Aeroflot   Russia Moscow - Sheremetyevo Aeroflot Bonus SU
Aerolíneas Argentinas   Argentina Buenos Aires - Ezeiza, Buenos Aires - Jorge Newbury Aerolíneas Plus Salón Cóndor AR
Aeroméxico   Mexico Mexico City, Monterrey Club Premier Salón Premier AM
Air Europa   Spain Madrid - Barajas Flying Blue UX
Air France   France Paris - Charles de Gaulle Flying Blue Various AF
Alitalia   Italy Rome - Fiumicino MilleMiglia Club Freccia Alata AZ
China Airlines   Taiwan Taipei - Taoyuan, Taipei - Songshan, Kaohsiung Dynasty Flyer Dynasty Lounge CI
China Eastern Airlines   China Shanghai - Hongqiao, Shanghai - Pudong, Xi'an, Kunming Eastern Miles MU
Czech Airlines   Czech Republic Prague OK Plus Crystal Lounge OK
Delta Air Lines   United States Amsterdam, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York - JFK, New York - LaGuardia, Paris - Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City, Seattle/Tacoma, Tokyo - Narita SkyMiles Delta Sky Club DL
Garuda Indonesia   Indonesia Jakarta - Soekarno Hatta, Bali GarudaMiles Garuda Indonesia Executive Lounge GA
Kenya Airways   Kenya Nairobi Flying Blue Simba Lounge KQ
KLM   Netherlands Amsterdam Flying Blue KLM Crown Lounge KL
Korean Air   South Korea Seoul - Incheon, Seoul - Gimpo, Busan SKYPASS Korean Air Lounge KE
Middle East Airlines   Lebanon Beirut Cedar Miles Cedar Lounge ME
Saudia   Saudi Arabia Dammam, Jeddah, Riyadh, Medina Al-Fursan SV
TAROM   Romania Bucharest Flying Blue RO
Vietnam Airlines   Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi Golden Lotus Plus Golden Lotus Lounge VN
Xiamen Airlines   China Xiamen, Fuzhou, Hangzhou Egret Card MF

Star AllianceEdit

Star Alliance is a global network of airlines, and the world's largest airline alliance.

Cooperation includes seamless code share flights and baggage interlining and, as a new trend, an increased degree of co-location in airport terminals.

Members of any Star Alliance frequent traveler program (FT) can credit miles or points flown in many booking classes on any Star Alliance operated aircraft.

"Gold" Star Alliance FT members get an extra 20 kg or "piece" of baggage; reciprocal access to most Star Alliance members' lounges; priority boarding and priority wait listing.


Airline Country Hubs Frequent flyer
Lounges IATA
Aegean Airlines   Greece Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion Miles&Bonus Aegean Club Lounge A3
Air Canada   Canada Calgary, Montréal - Trudeau, Toronto - Pearson, Vancouver Aeroplan Maple Leaf Lounge AC
Air China   China Beijing - Capital, Chengdu, Shanghai - Pudong Air China Companion/Phoenix Miles VIP Lounge CA
Air India   India Delhi, Mumbai Flying Returns Maharaja Lounge AI
Air New Zealand   New Zealand Auckland Airpoints Koru Club NZ
All Nippon Airways   Japan Tokyo - Haneda, Tokyo - Narita, Osaka - Kansai, Osaka - Itami ANA Mileage Club Club ANA Lounge NH
Asiana Airlines   South Korea Seoul - Incheon Asiana Club Asiana Lounge OZ
Austrian Airlines   Austria Vienna Miles & More Senator Lounge OS
Avianca   Colombia Bogotá LifeMiles Avianca VIP Lounges AV
Brussels Airlines   Belgium Brussels Miles & More HON, Senator Lounge SN
Copa Airlines   Panama Panama City ConnectMiles Copa Club CM
Croatia Airlines   Croatia Zagreb Miles & More Senator Lounge OU
Egypt Air   Egypt Cairo EgyptAir Plus EGYPTAIR MS
Ethiopian Airlines   Ethiopia Addis Ababa ShebaMiles Cloud Nine and Sheba Miles Lounges ET
EVA Air   Taiwan Taipei - Taoyuan, Taipei - Songshan Infinity MileageLands EVA Air Lounge BR
LOT   Poland Warsaw Miles & More Executive Lounge LO
Lufthansa   Germany Frankfurt, Munich Miles & More HON/Senator Lounge LH
SAS Scandinavian Airlines   Denmark,   Norway,   Sweden Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm Eurobonus Scandinavian Lounge /Business Lounge SK
Shenzhen Airlines   China Shenzhen PhoenixMiles ZH
Singapore Airlines   Singapore Singapore KrisFlyer SilverKris Lounge SQ
South African Airways   South Africa Johannesburg - O.R. Tambo, Cape Town Voyager Cycad/Baobab Lounge SA
Swiss International   Switzerland Zurich Miles & More Swiss Lounge LX
TAP Portugal   Portugal Lisbon Victoria Top Executive Lounge TP
Thai Airways   Thailand Bangkok - Suvarnabhumi Royal Orchid Plus Royal Lounges TG
Turkish Airlines   Turkey Istanbul - New Miles & Smiles THY CIP Lounge TK
United Airlines   United States Denver, Los Angeles, Chicago - O'Hare, San Francisco, Newark, Washington - Dulles, Houston - Bush, Cleveland, Guam, Tokyo - Narita Mileage Plus United Club, United Polaris Lounge UA

Rail-air alliancesEdit

In some countries (especially those with extensive high speed rail networks) there are also cooperation agreements between airlines and railway operators, offering trains as a code-shared "flight" or other benefits to travelers. For more on the topic see rail air alliances.

Frequent flyer programsEdit

Main article: Frequent flyer programmes

You should choose your Frequent Flyer airline in an alliance carefully. Although you may think it is intuitive to join the airline you fly most, you should be aware that privileges offered are often different and frequent flyer points may be more generous under a different airline in the same alliance.

By way of example, to reach Star Alliance Gold status (affording you priority wait listing and boarding, extra checked baggage allowance and use of lounges even when flying on any Star Alliance economy flight) requires only 20,000 miles in one year with Aegean Airlines' Miles&Bonus program, but some other member program require 50,000 or even 100,000 miles in a year to be flown before awarding Gold status.

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