Header background image

Airline Alliances: History, Members & Benefits

Explore Today's Deals

Logo invertediFly.com

Airline Alliances: Strengthening Connectivity in the Travel Industry

History of Alliances in the Airline Industry

Airline alliances have played a crucial role in shaping the global aviation industry. The first significant alliance, Star Alliance, was established in 1997 and included five major global airlines. Since then, the concept of airline alliances has evolved and expanded, with multiple agreements and partnerships being formed.

Airline alliances are cooperative agreements between two or more airlines that aim to enhance connectivity, streamline operations, and provide a seamless travel experience to passengers. These alliances involve code-sharing, allowing airlines to sell seats on each other's flights and provide reciprocal benefits to their customers.

Benefits of Alliances to Airlines

Airline alliances offer numerous benefits to participating carriers. Firstly, alliances enable airlines to expand their network reach by leveraging the routes and destinations offered by partner airlines. This allows them to offer more options to passengers without having to invest in additional aircraft or infrastructure.

Financially, alliances provide cost-sharing opportunities and economies of scale. By collaborating in areas such as purchasing, maintenance, and marketing, airlines can achieve cost efficiencies and reduce operational expenses. Additionally, alliances enhance the marketing reach of member airlines, as they can promote and market each other's flights, leading to increased brand visibility and customer acquisition.

However, there can be challenges for airlines when it comes to the management of earned miles. Depending on the specific alliance and its policies, unused miles earned on one airline within the alliance may not be transferable or usable on another airline. This can result in complexities and limitations for both the airlines and their customers.

Benefits of Alliances to Passengers

Airline alliances bring several advantages to travelers. One of the key benefits is enhanced connectivity, as passengers can enjoy access to a broader network of flights and destinations through their alliance's member airlines. This allows for smoother transfers, increased flight frequency, and improved options when planning itineraries.

Moreover, passengers who are members of frequent flyer programs within an alliance can earn and redeem miles across multiple airlines, making it easier to accumulate rewards and enjoy various perks. Additionally, alliance members often provide reciprocal benefits such as priority check-in, lounge access, and expedited security procedures, enhancing the overall travel experience for passengers.

On the downside, passengers may sometimes experience limitations when redeeming their miles or accessing benefits, as availability can be subject to blackout dates, capacity controls, and restrictions imposed by individual airlines within the alliance. It's essential for travelers to understand these nuances and plan accordingly.

Modern-Day Airline Alliances

Currently, there are three major airline alliances dominating the industry:


SkyTeam alliance consists of 19 member airlines, including Delta Air Lines, Air France-KLM, China Eastern Airlines, and Korean Air. It provides extensive coverage across all major continents.

Star Alliance:

Star Alliance is the largest airline alliance, with 26 member airlines. It includes prominent carriers such as United Airlines, Lufthansa, Air Canada, and ANA.


Oneworld alliance comprises 14 member airlines, including American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas. It offers a strong global network and seamless connectivity.

Airline Alliance Members

SkyTeam Member Airlines:

Aeroflot, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aeroméxico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, Saudia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines.

Star Alliance Member Airlines:

Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Swiss International Air Lines, TAP Air Portugal, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, and United Airlines.

Oneworld Member Airlines:

American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines, SriLankan Airlines, and Fiji Airways (Oneworld Connect partner).

In conclusion, airline alliances have revolutionized the travel industry by enabling airlines to expand their networks, improve operational efficiency, and offer enhanced benefits to passengers. These alliances provide financial advantages to airlines and offer convenience, connectivity, and rewards to travelers. Understanding the history, benefits, and current airline alliances empowers passengers to make informed choices and enjoy a more seamless travel experience.

Find more help here for your journey through the airport