Cranky on the Web (June 20 – 24)


What do airline alliances mean for you?CNN Out of the Office
Airline alliances aren’t necessarily all they’re cracked up to be. There are some benefits, but not nearly as many as you might expect.

In the Trenches: Changing up the RoutineIntuit Small Business Blog
Making things run better at Cranky Concierge is always a good thing. I just need to make sure I don’t shoot myself in the foot.

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8 comments on “Cranky on the Web (June 20 – 24)

  1. It is very obvious that you are biased toward southwest airlines but it is inexcusable to not address their pilots racial, ranting over the radio.

    1. Why? What effect does a pilot erroneously making stupid statements over an open mic have to do with an analysis of the airline business? May I suggest you grind your axe elsewhere? Cheers!

  2. Cranky, nice article on the myths of alliances. A few nits to pick, though.

    You note that it’s not possible to upgrade on oneworld partners. That’s no longer the case. AA, BA, and Iberia miles can now be used to upgrade each other’s flights, though (like Star and SkyTeam) only on full-fare tickets and with significant restrictions.

    More generally, the inconsistency with upgrades is due more to the cultural/competitive environment difference between US-based airlines and airlines based elsewhere than a weakness of alliances. US-based airlines (Delta excepted) generally allow upgrades on international flights from cheap fares, while airlines elsewhere don’t. BA, for example, clearly isn’t going to let AA elites upgrade on BA flights on much cheaper fares than BA’s own elites can upgrade.

    A big weakness to me of the alliances is that even earning miles is wildly inconsistent. AA fliers can only earn miles on a handful of expensive fares on oneworld partners, or earn at 50% or less per mile flown on cheap fares.

    1. I probably could have worded it better, but my point was that Star and SkyTeam have set upgrade programs across the alliance airlines. But oneworld doesn’t have that. BA/AA/IB have that now thanks to their tighter joint venture, but that’s really outside of the oneworld alliance itself.

      I absolutely agree with the reasons for those programs being fairly weak. And yes, the mileage earning is a big frustration for a lot of people.

  3. From the CNN article, I think you glazed over the idea of lounge access (for example, if you are a Star Alliance Gold member, lounge access when traveling internationally to member lounges and specific Star Alliance lounges), and didn’t even touch on free baggage allowances on partner airlines with Alliance status (For example, being allowed three free checked bags on United if you have Star Gold status).

    These two things are far and away the two biggest things that keep my flying within one alliance (in addition to the mileage accrual), not upgrade oppotunities or anything else that was mentioned.

    1. I don’t have a ton of room to delve into the details in every column, but I did mention lounge access in there. “Benefits for higher status levels, including lounge access and priority boarding, line up more closely across airlines . . .”

      That statement would also apply to higher bag limits, but you’re right that I didn’t call it out. For me, that’s not a big deal so it’s not top of mind, but I can see that being important for a lot of people.

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