oneworld will soon become the first of the global airline alliances to complete the rollout of interline e-ticketing (IET) between all members of the grouping.
This means its customers can travel with the convenience of just one electronic ticket throughout the unrivalled combined network served by the alliance’s eight member airlines - American Airlines, British Airways, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Iberia, LAN, Finnair and Aer Lingus - and their 17 affiliates. Together, the carriers fly to 602 destinations in 136 countries worldwide.
Twenty-five of the alliance’s potential 28 pairs of partners are now linked up with IET, covering 99 percent of the passengers transferring between oneworld airlines’ flights. The remaining three connections will be completed within the next month.
Interline e-ticketing offers passengers considerable advantages. It makes connections between flights by different airlines smoother, easier and more reliable. It also reduces the time and hassle involved in rebooking from one carrier to another, should that be needed for any reason.
Customers have no traditional paper ticket to lose or risk having stolen; checking-in is quicker and smoother; and there is access to the speed and convenience of new automated features, like self-service or Internet check-in, helping eliminate lines at airports.
e-tickets and interline e-ticketing also provide millions of dollars a year in savings for the airlines, with IATA, the world airline association, estimating that electronic tickets cut airline costs about $8 for each paper ticket eliminated. On that basis, with more than seven million passengers a year transferring between oneworld partners, the alliance’s IET program would save the eight member airlines approximately $60 million a year.
With the number of passengers connecting between the alliance’s carriers growing - by 12 percent in 2004 alone - the financial contribution of IET could increase even further.
“oneworld was created to make travel to more places easier for more people, and completion of interline e-ticketing links between all our member airlines is a significant landmark toward that goal,” said oneworld Managing Partner John McCulloch. “It makes travel throughout oneworld’s unmatched worldwide network simpler and smoother for our customers while also cutting costs considerably for our member airlines.
“Being the first alliance to extend this level of customer convenience between all our airlines is a reflection of oneworld’s determination to make our alliance customer service better than the competition and to reap the benefits that technology provides for both our customers and shareholders,” McCulloch added. “It also underlines oneworld’s ability to get things done faster and more efficiently by being a manageably sized grouping of committed and high quality carriers.”
American Airlines and Finnair set the alliance’s IET program rolling in May 2002 when they became the industry’s first airlines in separate continents to offer this service. American then became the first airline in the world to complete IET links with all its global alliance partners in June 2004. British Airways followed suit, completing its connections with all its fellow oneworld members in October, joined by Qantas in December.
Finnair is the latest partner to extend IET to all its fellow oneworld members. Connections between Aer Lingus with Cathay Pacific, Iberia and LAN will be completed within the next month.