Rewind the clock a few years ago and there were some big swings going on from the US airlines against the big ME3 – the Middle Eastern airlines of Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar. However, since that has died down, the US airlines and the Gulf carriers have been making moves and this one looks like it may be the latest.
Emirates and United to Form a Partnership, According to Report
For now, it would be a codeshare agreement that would allow airlines to sell tickets that include travel on the other airline under their own flight numbers and as part of one ticket. This will help Emirates immensely in the US market as they can now sell tickets from any of the places they service to most cities in America, thanks to the cities that United services. Emirates does have a partnership with JetBlue for this as well but United covers many more airports than JetBlue does.
The funny thing about this is the amount of bad blood that US airlines have had against the Gulf carriers with numerous complaints about how the airlines operate, even some outrageously inaccurate ones, and how flying them goes agains the American worker. A few years ago at a family gathering, I ended up in a conversation with a relative who’s husband is a Captain on United long-hauls, with the Boeing 777. She was asking about my favorite flights, etc. She mentioned she had read some of my reviews about Etihad, Qatar, etc. and said she could not wait to fly them.
Her husband came over and she was gushing about how beautiful those planes were and then walked away and he and I got to discuss a bit about differences regarding flying those carriers instead of US carriers. He was adamant about how he would never fly with those airlines and neither would his United pilot friends. I told him I am for supporting American carriers but they could certainly learn some lessons, even “just” at the service level from the Gulf carriers – never mind all the bling. American carriers have become so complacent with the government protection of the US market that they don’t worry about competing – they just fly.
Imagine if Emirates were allowed to operate flights inside the US! You would likely see quite a pickup in service attitude from US carriers! Well, the next best thing is here with an agreement coming that will put Emirates and United on the same side. This will likely also include some things like reciprocal earning and redeeming opportunities as well, which is great since Alaska Airlines and Emirates are no longer partners in that space.
This will also help United, though I would imagine not as much as it helps Emirates, since it gives them a chance to sell tickets to places that they are currently not flying to.
It will be interesting to see how well this all works out and to what level the partnership is at. Remember, this not is a move into the Star Alliance. This means that you would not be able to use, say, Turkish Airline miles to fly Emirates. This is a codeshare partnership agreement just between Emirates and United.
I cannot wait to talk to my family member at the next get together to see if he will fly Emirates now. 🙂
What do you think about a United Airlines / Emirates partnership?