The Four Alliance Airlines I Haven’t Flown

Filed Under: oneworld, SkyTeam

Here’s a topic that I thought it would be fun to revisit, which I’m sure my fellow aviation geeks will appreciate. As most of you are probably aware, there are three major global airline alliances — oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance. Between them, they have nearly 60 member airlines.

While arbitrary and insignificant, I’ve slowly been working towards flying every airline belonging to the major alliances, and I’m finally getting pretty close. Last March I shared my “progress” on that front, and I’m happy to report that since then I’ve knocked out five additional airlines, so now I’m getting really close.

When I last wrote this post I was surprised by just how many alliance airlines I hadn’t flown, but now my number is right around what I was initially expecting it to be.

So, which oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance airlines haven’t I flown? Let me share the member airlines of each alliance, and then I’ll share the ones I haven’t flown.

Oneworld Alliance Airlines

Oneworld has the following 13 member airlines:

American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines, SriLankan Airlines

This was my “best” alliance last time I wrote about this topic, as the only oneworld airline I hadn’t flown was Russia’s S7 Airlines. Unfortunately I still haven’t flown the airline, but I’ve had plans to do so for quite a while.

S7 Airlines 737

Stay tuned for a follow-up post, because I have specific plans to hopefully fly them very soon.

SkyTeam Alliance Airlines

SkyTeam has the following 18 member airlines:

Aeroflot, Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern, Czech Airlines, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, Saudia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines, Xiamen Air

Last time I wrote about this, I hadn’t flown Aerolineas Argentinas, Air Europa, Middle East Airlines, or TAROM. Since then I’ve flown three of the four airlines, as I flew Air Europa from London to Madrid to Miami, I flew Middle East Airlines from Paris to Beirut, and I flew TAROM from Bucharest to London.

So at this point I just need to fly Aerolineas Argentinas, which should be easy enough (on the surface). They fly from Miami to Buenos Aires, so…

I recently flew Air Europa for the first time

Star Alliance Airlines

Star Alliance has the following 26 member airlines:

Aegean, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, SAS, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Air Portugal, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, United

Last time I wrote about this, I hadn’t flown Adria Airways, Croatia Airlines, Copa Airlines, and Shenzhen Airlines. In the past several months I’ve flown Adria Airways (though they subsequently went out of business), and also flew Croatia Airlines.

So at this point I just have to fly Copa Airlines and Shenzhen Airlines.

Shenzhen Airlines A320

How do I plan on accomplishing that?

  • Flying Copa Airlines is super easy, though ideally I’d wait until their 737 MAX 9s are flying again, since those planes feature their new flat bed business class
  • Shenzhen Airlines has an intriguing long haul flight between London and Shenzhen, which I have a plan to fly

I’d note that Juneyao Airlines isn’t a full Star Alliance member airline, but rather is a “Connecting Partner.” I’d also like to fly with them, as they have 787s that they fly from Shanghai to Helsinki, and soon that flight will continue to Dublin, Manchester, and Reykjavik.

Bottom Line

I know this is totally random, but last year I was surprised by how many of the major alliance airlines I hadn’t flown. At the time there were a total of nine alliance airlines I hadn’t flown, while now that number is down to four.

So I need to still fly Aerolineas Argentinas, Copa Airlines, S7 Airlines, and Shenzhen Airlines, and then also ideally Juneyao Airlines, even though they’re not a full Star Alliance airline.

Has anyone flown all the airlines belonging to any of the alliances? Or maybe all the airlines of all the alliances?

  1. Ben, have you flown Avianca Brazil?

    If you haven’t, this would be the fifth Star Alliance airline you haven’t flown. Note that it is independent from Avianca International, though the respective owners are brothers.

    Actually, this may become moot soon, as unfortunately Avianca Brazil is going through reorganization, and seems unlikely to survive (some slots may be sold to Azul).

  2. You might want a try on ZH’s 739 in business. That is “the only lie-flat business class in NB” in mainland China. You may expect something like a A321T Business, but that is a one of its kind experience within China. Also it is known that ZH possess one of the finest business class seats.
    Other than that…I also recommend that you fly with HU to some random European destinations from Shenzhen (I.e. Tel Aviv/Dublin) and enjoy a whole row of seats to yourself.

  3. The MAX for Copa Airlines is really good compared to their standard 737’s. I flew on one in business to Orlando within their first week of service.

  4. Shenzhen airlines’ longhaul 330 is transferred to them from Air China so it’s the same 2-2-2 seats. And their crew is trained by Air China so not much to see. Agree to comment above about their 739 fully flat J seats.

  5. Are adria and Croatia owned by lutjansa group? I’ve flown both connecting on to Lufthansa and didn’t even realize I was flying flag carriers

  6. Love this article because I love reviews about airlines that aren’t flown as much as the mainstream global carriers (I don’t even open reviews on Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, Emirates etc. anymore) I . I have been looking in particular for reviews on Shenzhen Airlines ever since I heard they were launching A330 flights to LHR last year, but online reviews are extremely hard to find, and none exist yet of their long haul product to LHR, so I would love to see this!!

  7. @X
    Tel Aviv is not Europe. Israel is in Asia.
    I thought there was a review of Copa in OMAT from 2015.

  8. @lucky, or anyone else reading this post- have you flown Malindo Air Business (KUL-HKG)? If so, what were you’re thoughts about the experience? I’m considering trying them out in a couple of weeks, as biz tickets for that route are super cheap. Thanks for any info you can provide.

  9. Awesome post. My main alliance is Skyteam and I only need to fly Saudia and Czech to have completed the old 20 (including China Southern) to have flown all Skyteam airlines.

    Huge variation in quality within Skyteam. But the worst airline by far, is one you still have to fly. Excited to read your review!

  10. Lucky, when did you last fly Air New Zealand? I haven’t seen a review of it in years.

    Technically speaking, you HAVE flown Aegean, but there’s no big report for it.

  11. I flew Croatia a couple of years ago. They have a business class cabin on their Q400s. Might make for an interesting review.

  12. @X @ZxM

    Many people are confused because Israel often tag along with Europe.

    Their football (soccer) team are part of UEFA not AFC. Jordan right next door plays in AFC.

  13. Copa 737 MAX 9 Business class is probably one of the best ‘Domestic’ fist class out there. Hopefully when then figure out the MAX problem you can fly it. They fly the MAX 9 from PTY-SFO daily and my friends have told me it is a must.

  14. Interesting post. Where do you stand on the list of total airlines flown ?(alliances + others) plus which airlines are not on your wishlist apart from the ones mentioned here ?

  15. Croatia is such a small airline, you will just tick the box and experience-wise it ends with “e” that word starts with. Clean planes, quick and safe hops up to 3h, usually friendly FAs. Decent bfast and hot meals in J during longish flights depending on the time of the day. No wifi, no moving maps, no IFE. Domestic flights ZAG SPU or ZAG DBV spectacular when above the Dalmatian coast esp approach to DBV. Tends to be exp in summer season. They are gov owned, losing money again and they do mostly feed LH group who did help a lot to kick it off 25+ years ago. Your report would be…no, nothing to report :-). Cheers

  16. @jordan maybe your new here….

    Bens entire blog is based on him flying not because he has to but because he wants (loves) to. If your mad about it now, you’d really hate how much unnecessary flying he used to do lol

  17. Copa and Luxair both intrigue me; looking forward to reviews. Have you ever flown Aegean Airlines? The Argentine airline looks fun too. I enjoy your reviews (for better or worst) of unusual airlines like TAAG Angola and MIAT Mongolia,

  18. Probably a rookie question, but are here any other alliances other than these three? Does the Virgin configuration or JetStar count as an alliance in traditional terms?

  19. @Lucky having flown Shenzhen Airlines both domestically and internationally, I would say it is a pretty good airline. It is considered one of the better Mainland carriers. By the way, have you flown Juneyao Airlines , Hebei Airlines, Lucky Air, Beijing Capital Airlines, Air Macau, Tiger Airlines, Uni Air, Mandarin Airlines, Shandong Airlines, Tiger Airways, or HK Express. I am just asking about it in this manner, because you are the most interesting travel blogger and I read your blogs as I would trust you and follow you the most out of the other bloggers. There are other good bloggers and sites as well, but yours is probably the best. So, it would be nice to see you review other non-alliance airlines, lesser known (smaller) airlines, or those of their subsidiaries.

  20. For south america Aerolineas Argentinas is very good!!

    Lan and avianca only a few good planes..but service much better in aerolineas aegentinas!

  21. Believe it or not. Air China & Shenzhen Airline are 99% the same. They also share the same loyalty program PhoenixMiles. However, I like ZH instead of CA much much more. As a OZ Diamond member, I also got greeting by flights attendand with ZH, but not CA.

  22. Believe it or not. Air China & Shenzhen Airline are 99% the same. They also share the same loyalty program PhoenixMiles. However, I like ZH instead of CA much much more. As a OZ Diamond member, I also got greeting by flights attendant with ZH, but not CA.

  23. COPA is a very underrated airline. Very affordable biz class tickets and PTY is a great central location to break up a flight from North to South America. Not to mention Panama is a fantastic country to visit as well.

  24. Hey Ben, I have flown Copa 737 and Tarom a318/ATRs.

    Copa has surprisingly good hard product on 737 on economy and on business as well, it surely beats the eu carriers With only middle seat blocked.

    If you would like to experience what is like the true tarom experience, try on routes where they use ATRs. Dirty planes, absolute minimum legroom, headroom, grumpy FAs and so on 😀

  25. @Stanley, tried HK Express myself not long ago on route HND-HKG. Genrally was really satisfied, relatively fast boarding process, clean and new planes, legroom as other LCCs. FAs were friendly while LF was nearly 100% so they had things to do. Buy on board food was good on reasonable prices. In HKG they use buses to deplane, not a surprise HK Express being LCC, but almost missed my connection because of that even though my flight was on time. Would not hesitate to fly them again.

  26. @John:

    You obviously didn’t read the Copa report, because it was published under Lucky’s byline but a friend of Lucky flew the flights and wrote the report. Nice try blogsplaining to the blog author which airlines he flew though. 😉

  27. “I flew Middle East Airlines from Paris to Beirut”

    And we’re still waiting for that set of trip reports…

  28. @Isaac

    I snagged a Malindo J ticket last week CGK-KUL-KTM at a good price, suspect the product is similar to KUL-HKG. I’d characterize it as standard US domestic J with more legroom and Asian (better) service. The biggest benefit for me was the dedicated J bus saving immigration time, but not sure if Malindo uses remote stands in HKG.

  29. @isaac malindo was very ordinary. I would fly MH. Mind you it is a short flight so go for it (I am used to SIN to JFK or MEL TO LHR).

    Croatia air was fine. Nothing exciting though.

    Aerolineas Argentina was very ordinary and that was my opinion when I had not flown a lot. That being the case will fly them again later this year from BA to Ushuaia.

  30. @Zach : i don’t really count things like U-Fly, Value, or Vanilla as true alliances. Those are more akin to industrial consortiums. I count “alliances” as ones that actually offer incremental rewards and benefits to consumers in exchange for loyalty.

    I just visited Value Alliance’s website out of curiosity, and what’s being offered sounds like standard interlining (which i guess is a bigger deal from ULCC perspective, but something that’s already being offered implicitly by most carriers).

    @lucky : i’d put an asterisk next to LATAM. That’s a crucial anchor of oneworld that’s technically still in for now but we all know the announced departure date.

  31. How about you fly economy class long-haul? Your readers are really interested in seeing you endure a 12-15 hour flight in the back of the plane like majority of travelers.

  32. Shenzhen airlines is generally considered to be better than the big 3 Chinese airlines. They even greet alliance members which is rare for Chinese airlines. IIRC their flat bed 737 usually fly SZX-PEK. Also China eastern just finished installing flat bed on one of their 737. Rumor says that it will fly on KMG-PEK soon.

  33. @ Tom

    This site is dedicated to reviews of business and first class products. There are other sites that have contributors that review economy and premium economy products.

  34. @Tom, personally I have no interest in torturing @lucky. Nor am I going to fly long haul in the back of the bus. The review would bring me no value. Not that @Lucky needs to be discouraged from flying economy, but I think he’d be wasting his time. More power to the people who choose to make a career reviewing economy. I’m glad it’s not me.

  35. Having flown Shenzhen Airlines several times, I agree their hard product is so-so, but their soft product and pre-departure formalities are quite decent. At Shenzhen International, right in the middle of the departures hall, they have a massive check-in room for elites. If the flight is boarding on the tarmac they whisk elites there on a VIP minibus. Once I was even personally greeted onboard and thanked for flying with them. I was in economy and not even a member of their FF program. Only a Star Alliance Gold member.

  36. If you want to fly Shenzhen Airlines I would recommend you to try both their long-haul (i.e. LHR-SZX) and short-haul (preferably on their 739, usually to PEK) to get a better full picture. The long-haul one is, as mentioned above, basically Air China. But their domestic biz really beats most of its counterparts within mainland China with good services and flat-bed.

    Plus you should find a better fare most of the time when you add a domestic tag flight if you pay in cash. (but just don’t try a short connection at SZX, never works well, get a review for the airport Hyatt Regency opened in 2018 instead).

  37. What about Olympic? They aren’t formally a member of Star Alliance but you can get Star Alliance flying only Olympic.

  38. I flew on S7 a couple of years ago and even then you could tell they were a bright and fresh take on the aviation sector in Russia – you should definitely give them a try.

    I have flown Copa many times (and they fly direct from my hometown of New Orleans as well) and I would always rate them as a solid airline. Their planes, service, and overall experience is good and consistent – I have never had a bad experience but they are also not great; however, they offer a good deal for the price you are paying and transferring through Panama is generally easy.

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