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OK, I admit it. I didn’t think that this would be a post that I’d find myself writing.
The rumors that Oman Air was looking to join the oneworld alliance have been going around for some time (they date back well before it was ever suggested that Alaska Airlines would join oneworld) and I never really thought anything would come of it.
With Qatar Airways already covering most of the Middle East and connecting West with East through its hub in Doha, the benefits to the oneworld alliance of adding a third Middle Eastern carrier to its stable (Royal Jordanian is also a member of the alliance) have never been obvious and I continue to struggle to see the rationale.
Nevertheless, Oman Air has now made it official and confirmed that it will, eventually, be joining the oneworld alliance but as the airline doesn’t envisage that it will be integrated into oneworld until 2024, there’s no expectation that things will progress swiftly.
Clearly, for anyone who’s a fan of the oneworld alliance (a group that includes me), the addition of a new airline to the alliance has to be seen as good news, and the fact that Oman Air has a young fleet and a very nice Business Class cabin on its Boeing Dreamliners makes the news that much better.
It will also be interesting to see what kind of value there will be on offer for award bookings on Oman Air once the likes of American Airlines, British Airways, Qatar Airways, and Alaska Airlines announce their award pricing (I’m least optimistic about what Alaska Airlines will come up with as most of its recent award pricing announcements have been depressingly bad).
Having said all of that, I’m still struggling to generate much enthusiasm for this news as unless the addition of Oman Air to the oneworld alliance gives us a new and beautiful sweet spot in one or more award charts, I’m not sure what great benefit this will give most TFM readers.
At the time of writing, I’ve been unable to find a definitive destination chart for Oman Air but I doubt that outside of Oman, the airline serves many destinations that aren’t already served by Qatar Airways. And I doubt that awards on Oman Air will be easier to find than awards on Qatar Airways.
Also, it’s worth keeping in mind the fact that because Oman Air is such a niche player, none of the major transferable US currencies currently partner with its loyalty program and that makes us all the more reliant on Oman Air’s fellow oneworld members not to price the airline’s awards too highly or to add ridiculous surcharges to awards for travel on Oman Air.
With the likes of Qantas, Alaska Airlines, and BA all in the oneworld alliance, what are the chances of the surcharges on Oman Air awards being kept low? 🙂
We now have confirmation that Oman Air will be joining the oneworld alliance at some point in 2024. For the time being, I’m not getting overly excited about this news as I’m struggling to see any major benefits that having Oman Air as part of the oneworld alliance will give me or most readers of this site but, if it turns out that partner airline awards for travel in Oman Air’s premium cabin awards are sensibly priced and don’t come with ridiculous surcharges, I’ll happily sing the praises of the new partnership.
Featured image courtesy of Oman Air