Why oneworld carrierconnect is taking so long
We're promised online check-in between oneworld member airlines, but it's not going to happen overnight.
Back in February, the oneworld airline alliance announced a series of new initiatives to mark its 20th anniversary. One was to introduce oneworld-branded lounges.
Another was a project somewhat awkwardly known as "carrierconnect", which would allow frequent flyers with any of oneworld's member airlines to check in online with any member airline they were ticketed with, not just their "main" airline.
The first visible evidence of that emerged this week, with Cathay Pacific and Qatar announcing their passengers can now check in online for connecting flights on either airline. That's good progress in just three months, but the official announcement is mostly notable for what is not happening.
The release notes that full seat selection and paying for extra baggage on both airlines will be added "in the future". One of the biggest benefits of checking in online is getting to pick a seat, so this needs to be addressed promptly.
Even more noteworthy is the proposed timetable for when other oneworld members will offer similar services. "Four more oneworld airlines are aiming to follow suit in the coming months – American Airlines, Iberia, LATAM, and Malaysia Airlines," the release notes.
Australians will immediately notice that Qantas is conspicuously missing from that list. Fellow oneworld co-founder British Airways is also nowhere to be seen. So what's happening there? "The alliance's six other members are slated by follow in the next year or so," the release says. That's a very non-specific timetable.
I know these are not easy changes to make. They involve passenger data that needs to be protected, complex flight information and back-end IT systems that are often decades old. So it's no surprise that we're not seeing this rolled out really quickly.
In the meantime, for multi-airline oneworld flights, you'll still have to check in at the airport, though if every airline involved is with oneworld, your baggage should be tagged all the way through and you'll get all your boarding passes. And at least the threat of Qatar leaving oneworld hasn't come to pass in the anniversary year.
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on Finder.
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