Continental’s Star Alliance Move

You likely won’t be surprised to hear that I had a great time at the bachelor party this weekend, but that means I had very little time to write. So, since every travel blogger on earth has written about the announcement that Continental will be leaving SkyTeam, joining Star Alliance, and instituting a very tight partnership with United, I thought I’d just point to a couple of the more interesting posts I’ve seen.

Make no mistake, this is more than just a codeshare and frequent flier mile deal. Continental will join United, Lufthansa, and Air Canada in a joint venture for all transatlantic flying. Latin and Asia joint ventures will be developed as well. There will be broad systems integration as well.

In terms of routes, the rest of the Star Alliance will be happy to finally have a big international presence in New York. Dan Webb takes a look at route compatibility here.

If you’re a member of United’s Mileage Plus or Continental’s OnePass programs, this will certainly mean changes. Take a look at View From the Wing’s effort to breakdown what this may mean, despite the fact that we have very few details so far. His take? Well, it’ll be a good thing for Continental fliers, but it’s a little less clear for United loyalists.

We don’t know what this will mean for US Airways right now. Is three a crowd when it comes to the Star Alliance in the US? They say they aren’t going anywhere, but they also haven’t had talks with Continental about cooperation either. Could they partner with American now that CO/UA and DL/NW are getting together? Maybe. Or maybe they’ll try a different tactic, as Holly suggests here in PlaneBuzz.

For American fliers, this could be decent news as well. Strange, I know, but it could theoretically mean that getting antitrust immunity with British Airways would become easier, as Terri Maxon discusses on the Airline Biz blog.

There are a lot of different angles to this partnership with a ton of potential ramifications throughout the industry when it develops. I’ll keep you posted as I learn more.


6 Responses to Continental’s Star Alliance Move

  1. QRC says:

    CF, interested for your point of view: I do probably 60% of my flying on OW…when is OW going to sign up anyone new? It feels for me, at least from my corner of the globe that SA is just taking over everything. Air China is now fully on board. Air India will be soon. Possibly Continental. Any chance OW could sign up someone like China Eastern or Jet Airways?

  2. David SF east bay says:

    CO joining Star Alliance will give the other Star members and flyers better access to Latin America and give UA a better chance to compete against American in that market and against Delta out of New York.

    I always hear that Oneworld is a better alliance, but I don’t see that since Star has more partners serving more destinations. Oneworld and Skyteam are a joke when it comes to transpacific travel.

  3. CF says:

    QRC – I don’t know when oneworld will get someone new, but I think the biggest news would be if they can get a more comprehensive deal between BA and AA going. That would open up a lot of options across the Atlantic. As for Jet, I think they’re playing the field right now. Not sure about China Eastern, but there isn’t anyone else available.

    David – Skyteam has Korean and oneworld has JAL/Cathay, so I wouldn’t say they’re a joke. But Star has many more options at this point with Thai/Singapore/ANA/Asiana . . . .

    One other interesting thing to note about the thread. A friend of mine reminded me that Amex cardholders will now be able to use their miles in the Star Alliance via Continental. Right now, Singapore and ANA are in the program, but that has to be a small percentage of people using those programs.

  4. Dan Webb says:

    Greetings from the Liberty of the Seas en route to St. Maarten (and hopefully Maho beach to do some spotting). Thanks for the link to my post!

  5. sTEVIEd says:

    AMEX members have been able to transfer into Air Canada to access Star Alliance for some time now.

  6. CF says:

    sTEVIEd – Good catch, but I’d argue the premise is the same. Foreign mileage earning programs are rarely relevant to US fliers. Aeroplan is potentially more useful to Americans than ANA or Singapore, but you still can’t earn miles domestically. So, if you solely want to use Amex miles for Star tickets, you can, but if you want to combine with miles you’ve earned, then Continental is a big step.

    If CO will be allowed access to Economy Plus and upgrades, it might be worth it to flee UA’s program.

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