Air Berlin to Join Oneworld

Just announced, details to come in their news conference tomorrow, but Air Berlin will be joining oneworld.

These integrations usually take 18 to 24 months, so don’t go out redeeming those American Airlines miles for Air Berlin flights between Miami and Europe and on to Egypt and Male just yet!

But it’s an interesting expansion, not one I would have predicted. First, with British Airways and Iberia and Hungarian oneworld is relatively well-positioned with European-based airlines. Second, because oneworld has tended to focus on premium carriers like Cathay Pacific, Qantas, and even British Airways. So a ‘discount carrier’ breaks the mold a bit.

Air Berlin is apparently the six-largest airline in Europe, and they reach Africa, Asia, and North and South America.

They fly mostly all-coach products but their Airbus A330s do offer business class, and they’ve got Boeing 787s on order which will presumably offer a premium cabin.

I wouldn’t call this a huge new acquisiton for oneworld, but it’s certainly an interesting and unexpected one.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Interesting development…didn’t Oneworld kick out Aer Lingus several years ago after that airline decided to pursue a low-cost carrier business model? Sounds like Oneworld is desperate to add members.

  2. Air Berlin certainly is not a low cost – low service provider like Easyjet or Ryanair. Even on one-class short flights they offer free newspapers, free food and even seat numbers 🙂 And an all-around classier environment.

    They have a cooperation with Hainan Airlines and I wonder if they will be a member of Oneworld some time in the future, too.

  3. I agree with Ralf. I love flying Air Berlin and their sister Niki. Free newspapers, free food, assigned seating! While they do use Terminal 5 at CDG, which I previously didn’t even know existed, the flight experience is completely enjoyable. I would certainly equate it more to JetBlue or Frontier in the US, than Easyjet, RyanAir, or Spirit.

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