This article perhaps isn't important to read for experienced air travelers - but for newcomers, who have only few flights behind, it could tell some interesting facts. The situation, following below, is common for many airlines. You book a seat, arrive at the airport, reach your plane and have a good trip. All is fine, but during meal run you see that some passengers are served earlier than the others, without following the seat order. Why is it so? Does it mean, that some passengers are more privileged, than the others? It does.
In fact, almost every airline has its own reward program to attract more customers. Such program works by the following way - for each flight with the certain airline you get a certain amount of points called 'miles'. This amount depends on many reasons; for example, class you fly in, length of flight, and other volumes of flight. These 'miles' could be received for using services of your airline's partners, such as hotels, car rental companies, shops etc.
Just imagine, there are a lot of airlines, who offer such service improvement - so you need to fly with two or free of them to receive service upgrades, so almost half of your lifetime will be lost for just flying. There is another problem - a competition among different airlines. Great number of airlines means great choice of flying service providers. And new airlines appear often, increasing the choice and making this competition harder. In such volumes it is much easier for a group of two to compete with so many rivals than for a single airline. These two are not the only reason for creating air alliances - but, from the point of air travelers, they are the most important and notable.
That's why in 1989 there was an agreement between Northwest Airlines and KLM Royal Dutch Company. In three years the first open skies agreement was signed between not the airlines, but countries - one was Netherlands, and another was United States. Today there are three global airlines alliances existing - these are Star Alliance, SkyTeam Alliance and oneworld Alliance (that's right, the first 'o' must be small).
Each one includes airlines from all over the world, which are using similar flight schedules, taxing and flight checking system. The main advantage for passengers is one Frequent Flyer program, used by all members of the alliance. This way you can fly with one member airline, and if it for some reasons doesn't offer any world destinations, use the service of another alliance member, which can bring you there with all your 'miles' used for improving the pleasure of your flight. Different long-haul services are also much easier to perform for airline alliances - for example if you want to go from Seattle to Hong Kong as soon as possible, it could be more suitable for you to use one airline alliance service, booking one ticket for one non-stop flight or several legs of such a route, than to buy free or four tickets, each one for a different leg of journey. Today airlines alliances show us the future way of air traveling service standards. And if you wish to perform a world journey with minimal costs in money and time, the wise solution will be to use the service of one of the airlines alliances.