Singapore Airlines joined Star Alliance 22 years ago. You’d expect that when they look to feed passengers to and from their U.S. flights they’d work hand-in-hand with United. Except that’s not what’s happened over the years.
The Southeast Asian carrier has partnered with JetBlue. They’ve partnered with Virgin America and then Alaska. They’ve even run contests in the U.S. where prizes included travel on a partner other than United.
United Airlines launched service in Los Angeles to compete with Singapore’s non-stops as well as service from San Francisco. And United has even pulled Singapore Airlines award flights off of its website so that members wouldn’t know about them.
For several years Singapore undermined United’s revenue-based rewards program by continuing to offer one mile per mile flown on United flights.
In other words, United and Singapore have been frenemies… at best. And that’s why it was striking to me to see an expanded codeshare agreement between the two carriers.
United’s customers will be able to connect to nine new codeshare destinations in the SIA Group network. Of these, seven points are in South East Asia. These are Brunei’s capital Bandar Seri Begawan, Siem Reap in Cambodia, Kuala Lumpur and Penang in Malaysia, and Denpasar (Bali), Jakarta and Surabaya in Indonesia. They may also connect to Perth in Australia, as well as Male in the Maldives with SIA.
SIA customers may connect on United’s flights out of Los Angeles to 10 new codeshare destinations in the US. These are Austin, Baltimore, Boise, Cleveland, Denver, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Reno and Sacramento. This complements the existing connections available on United’s network from Houston to Atlanta, Austin, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, New Orleans, Orlando and Tampa.
Singapore gets feed for its Los Angeles services from United. United no longer tries to operate its own Los Angeles – Singapore non-stop, but this potentially does trade off with passengers who might fly United’s San Francisco – Singapore flight. Singapore also gets feed off of United’s San Francisco – Singapore flight, onward to several new destinations, while helping United sell that long haul to customers who aren’t terminating their journey in Singapore.
Perhaps this expanded codeshare signals a rapprochement between the long-time alliance-mates.