The date for the inauguration of Alaska Airlines into the Oneworld alliance has been set for March 31, 2021.

The carrier first announced plans to join Oneworld in February this year, and in July the airline said it would become the alliance’s 14th member airline “around the end of the year”.

Alaska Airlines will join Oneworld by the end of 2020

But in a blog post this week Alaska Airlines said that it had started a six-month countdown to joining at the end of March.

“Alaska enters a new frontier in six months, said the carrier. “On March 31, 2021, for the first time in our 88-year history, we’ll become a member of a global airline alliance: Oneworld.”

“There’s a huge amount of complicated work that’s being done behind-the-scenes at Alaska to meet our aggressive deadline. Changes are required to every one of our major systems so they can ‘talk’ to each Oneworld member airline, and ensure we have a smooth and seamless guest experience.”

The carrier said that it was “a lot of effort”, but highlighted the following benefits as to why it believed it was “worth it”:

  • Oneworld further opens the world to our guests with more than 1,000 global destinations. You’ll fly more easily from Boise to Beijing or Portland to Prague. We’re already Global Partners with six Oneworld members which include American Airlines, British Airways, Japan Airlines and Qantas, but soon we’ll add seven new partners under the alliance umbrella including Iberia and Qatar Airways.
  • Connectivity becomes easier with Oneworld as our network (especially strong on the West Coast) supports the major, long-haul international flying of our fellow member airlines.
  • With our award-winning Mileage Plan programme, our guests will be able to accrue and redeem miles across the Oneworld global network.
  • For our elite travellers, Oneworld prides itself on providing a consistent, high quality guest experience across the alliance. Status with us means status with Oneworld and its 13 member airlines. This includes access to Oneworld member airlines’ lounges when traveling internationally, priority check-in, access to preferred and pre-reserved seats, priority boarding and many other benefits. This key improvement to our guest experience will help us compete with our bigger US rivals who offer their own global network.
  • Oneworld also boosts the visibility of the Alaska brand. Being a member of a prestigious global alliance will help us be better known around North America – and around the world.

Alaska also said that it planned to retain partnerships with carriers which are not part of Oneworld “as it’s mutually beneficial to do so”.

Commenting on the news Nat Pieper, Alaska’s senior vice president of fleet, finances and alliances, said:

“Every airline has pivotal moments in its history. Decisions that are made for future success and stability, and to provide increased service and a better travel experience for its customers.

“Oneworld offers us those opportunities. We are officially joining a family with some of the best airlines in the world. The possibilities are tremendous.”,