In international route news, Alaska Air takes on a new code-sharing partner; United will drop flights to Kuwait and Bahrain; Lufthansa adds a Denver route; British Airways will revive service to Gatwick and changes planes to Miami; and Austrian Airlines adds a U.S. route.
- Alaska Airlines and Emirates have had a frequent flyer program partnership since 2012, with reciprocal mileage-earning and spending, but now they’re getting even closer. Subject to government approval, they plan to begin code-sharing that will enable travelers from 49 Alaska cities to connect seamlessly to Emirates’ twice-daily flights from Seattle to Dubai. The deal will put Emirates’ code onto as many as 300 Alaska flights a day (although the announcement says nothing about Alaska’s code going onto the Emirates flights). In addition, Alaska’s MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75 elites will be able to use Emirates business class lounges at Dubai, and will get priority boarding and check-in at Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dubai; and Emirates elites will be able to use Alaska’s Board Room lounges at four airports.
- United Airlines is no longer taking reservations for travel on its very-long-haul flight from Washington Dulles to Kuwait and Bahrain after January 13, according to airlineroute.net. And it may not be a matter of insufficient traffic on the route. According to one popular blogger, United’s route termination may have been ordered by the Kuwaitis due to anger over U.S. anti-discrimination laws that will not allow airlines serving the U.S. to deny boarding to Israeli passport holders — something Kuwait Airlines reportedly did on a London-New York flight.
- In addition to its existing daily service from Denver to Frankfurt, Lufthansa says it will begin flying from Denver to Munich five times a week effective May 11, 2016. The German carrier will use an A330-300 with first class, business class, premium economy and economy seating.
- British Airways and joint venture partner American have plenty of flights in the New York-London Heathrow market, but next spring BA plans to add a flight from New York JFK to London Gatwick as well, according to airlinerotue.net. Effective May 16, British Airways will use a 777-200ER to operate daily service on the JFK-LGW route, which it last served in 2009. In other news, British Airways has just started flying a big Airbus A380 super-jumbo on its London Heathrow-Miami route. The 469-passenger A380, with four classes of seating, will initially operate one of BA’s two daily Miami flights; the other will still use a 747.
- Speaking of Miami, Austrian Airlines — a member of the Lufthansa Group — has added the Florida city as its newest U.S. gateway. The new Miami-Vienna flights, using a two-class 777, operate five days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday).
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