The oneworld alliance and Kingfisher Airlines announced today that they had picked a date for the welcome of Kingfisher Airlines onboard the alliance, and February 10, 2012 onwards, IT will be a full member. This will make Kingfisher the first airline from India to head into an alliance, after Star Alliance and Air India quite did not work out as of July 2011.
It is good news that despite its recent financial difficulties the airline will now be the 13th carrier to come on board the alliance. In 2010, British Airways had sponsored the application for Kingfisher to become a full member, and both have been working together on various parts of the partnership to close this to its logical end. Kingfisher has been signing on individually with various alliance partners for codeshares and frequent flying partnerships. British Airways was the first on board, and now it also has partnerships with FinnAir and American Airlines amongst others. Kingfisher also built a new lounge in T3 DEL which is being used by all oneworld carriers operating from Delhi.
The airline expects to have an uptick in revenue due to the expanded opportunities to sell tickets via the entire alliance partners and carry their passengers domestically in India. While their wide-body services internationally are pretty good, the international network is limited to a few stations outside India which include Dubai, London, Bangkok, Colombo, Singapore and Hong Kong, with London and Hong Kong being the only ones served on the A330s.
Frequent flyers on Kingfisher Airlines will now be treated at par on other carriers. KingClub Platinum will most likely be equated to the Emerald Tier, while KingClub Gold will be equated to the Sapphire Tier. How will joining the alliance change the earn and burn charts, or not, is still to be seen.
Rival Jet Airways, which denies courting an alliance yet, is however known to be yearning to get into the Star Alliance and is also known to have been working with SkyTeam. Which way will it swing, and when, or will it altogether join an alliance, is something that remains to be seen.
Personally, I think it will do me a world of wonder in the coming years. I was slightly disappointed with my long haul experience on Jet Airways Premiere this past year in July/August 2011,an aberration at best, and the airline did nothing to set it right, but plainly denied that they could have possibly messed up a bit in 4 business class segments on BOM-BRU/BRU-JFK/JFK-BRU/BRU-BOM. Hence, I’ve been voting with my wallet and flying other airlines as well over the past few months including Kingfisher and Indigo.
As a result, I am all set to lose my Gold Tier on Jet Airways Jet Privilege shortly, and gain Executive Platinum on AA. With this coming in time for my entire flying for 2012 ahead of me, I might just be getting on some more IT flights than usual to credit it to my AAdvantage account as EQM.
Keep you posted on where this one is headed…