Qantas and Cathay Pacific launch e-ticket interlining with American Airlines in latest phase of oneworld cut-over13 November 2003
Qantas and Cathay Pacific Airways are the latest oneworld™ members to launch interline electronic ticketing with their US partner American Airlines, keeping the world's most international airline grouping on track to have the practice in place between all of its carriers by the end of 2004.
The link has just been launched between American and Qantas, with AA and Cathay Pacific following suit in the next few weeks. For both the Australian and Hong Kong-based airlines, it is their first such connections with any other carrier.
oneworld remains the only one of the global airline groupings to commit to interline e-ticketing throughout all of its partners. American set the ball rolling in May last year with oneworld partner Finnair, becoming the world's first airlines based on separate continents to introduce interline e-ticketing. AA extended the practice in July to fellow oneworld member LanChile.
It will be extended on a phased basis between all oneworld airlines – including the other partners British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and member elect Swiss International Air Lines – by the end of 2004.
Interline e-ticketing eliminates the need for customers to have paper tickets for travel, thus enabling faster, easier transfers between carriers. Its use is increasing rapidly across the airline industry, with consumers preferring them. Among their benefits to travelers:
· Electronic tickets cannot be lost or stolen.
· Check-in is quicker and smoother.
· They help eliminate queues at airports by giving customers access to the speed and convenience of new automation features, such as self-service check-in devices.
· Changes and refunds can be made faster and easier than with paper tickets.
Interline e-ticketing enables customers with electronic tickets traveling on a journey involving a transfer between two airlines to be checked right through to their final destination, without the need for traditional paper tickets, eliminating queues and making connections smoother and more reliable.
It also makes rebooking from a flight on one airline to a service operated by another carrier more simple – if the need arises – with no need to obtain a paper ticket first and then have that paper ticket endorsed by a sales agent.
Besides offering considerable benefits for passengers, e-tickets and interline e-ticketing also provide substantial savings for the airlines.
More than 90 per cent of American Airlines' passengers now use e-ticket, with AA offering interline e-ticketing with more US domestic airlines than any other carrier besides, now, four of its oneworld partners.
American Airlines' Senior Vice-President Planning Henry Joyner said: "Expanding interline e-ticketing is fundamental to both American Airlines' and oneworld's overall focus on providing customers with what they value – innovations that make travel simpler and hassle-free. Interline e-ticketing now means travelers will find connecting between American flights and those of Cathay Pacific and Qantas easier than ever. We continue to work closely with all of our oneworld partners to make our alliance the first to offer interline e-ticketing throughout our grouping."
Cathay Pacific' Director Corporate Development Tony Tyler said: "This is another example of how oneworld partners are improving their service to customers by working closely together. Our new interline e-ticketing service marks an important expansion of Cathay Pacific's co-operation with American Airlines, offering additional convenience to customers of both airlines as they easily check right through to their final destinations when connecting between the two airlines."
Qantas Group General Manager Sales Rob Gurney said: "Extending our e-ticket capability to include American Airlines provides real benefits for our customers. Interline e-ticket also compliments our relocation to Terminal 4 at Los Angeles airport, both initiatives make transferring to American Airlines even easier."
Between them, oneworld's existing eight member airlines plus member elect SWISS serve more countries than any global airline alliance, with flights to more than 570 destinations in 136 countries. Members of any oneworld airline's frequent flyer scheme can earn awards and points on eligible fares and redeem them throughout this network. The eight airlines and their affiliates carried more than 220 million passengers last year on a combined fleet of almost 2,000 aircraft, earning revenues of some US$50 billion. In the past three years, oneworld has delivered more than US$2 billion in value to its members, through increased revenue and cost savings. It was last month named the World's Leading Airline Alliance in the World Travel Awards, based on votes cast by 80,000 travel agencies professionals from more than 200 countries.