Travel Commons has an interesting post about the best airlines for transatlantic award travel according to IdeaWorks, a travel consulting company. Look at their findings, which are overly simplistic. Here’s how they did their research:
The Transatlantic Reward Availability Report answers the question, “Which airlines offer the most online availability for transatlantic reward travel?” IdeaWorks made 6,400 booking queries at the websites of five US-based airlines and five Europe-based airlines during the latter half of January 2009. The same sets of travel dates, which spanned April through November 2009, were used for all queries. The queries were made for the largest passenger-carrying routes of each airline.
Fine, fair enough. That information is worthless as far as I’m concerned, but then they go on to say this:
Others, such as US Airways and Scandinavian Airlines, make it very difficult for consumers to receive the benefit of free transatlantic reward travel.
Eh, no, they don’t. They make it very difficult to book awards on their own metal across the pond online. That’s definitely not the same thing as making it “very difficult for consumers to receive the benefit of free transatlantic award travel.” USAir, actually, is probably the best carrier for Star Alliance awards across the pond. Not only do they offer all Starnet availability they can, but they also have a favorable award chart, liberal routing rules, and no fuel surcharges or BS taxes.
The biggest irony here, is that they use the term “free transatlantic award travel.” Iberia, the best carrier according to them, charges substantial “fuel surcharges” and “taxes” which make your award ticket look more like a revenue ticket. Not so free anymore….
Again they are correct with this:
However, the result produced by American’s AAdvantage program may suggest the issue of reward availability is more linked to revenue management than the question of “partners or no partners.” American Airlines offered the best online transatlantic reward availability of any US based airline without the benefit of partner inclusion.
American does have excellent award availability on their own flights, which is something they deserve credit for. Nonetheless, their transatlantic partner options are limited, given that you can’t use your American miles for British Airways flights from the US to Europe, which I’d argue is the European backbone of the OneWorld alliance.
The Transatlantic Reward Availability Report may be ordered directly from IdeaWorks at an early bird price of US$2,250 per copy for orders received by April 15, 2009. The regular price (for orders starting on April 16) is US$2,550. The report is now available for delivery.
I think I’ll pass. 😉
So while this research is technically correct, it’s just not very helpful to travelers, in my opinion. I hope they didn’t waste too much time on this “research.”