Royal Air Maroc Joining Oneworld On March 31, 2020

Filed Under: oneworld, Royal Air Maroc

The “big three” global alliances can be really helpful for frequent flyers, in terms of earning and redeeming miles, and receiving consistent benefits and recognition across airlines.

However, for the most part these alliances aren’t growing much anymore, as airlines instead focus on other partnerships, including joint ventures.

In December 2018 it was revealed that Royal Air Maroc will be joining the oneworld alliance, which was an exciting announcement. This will be the first airline to join oneworld as a full member in six years, and will be the first African airline to join oneworld (for what it’s worth, Alaska Airlines is also joining oneworld in 2021).

The oneworld alliance is finally getting a new member airline

At the time we were just told that the airline would join the alliance around the middle of 2020, though no exact date was given. Well, we now have a better sense of when that’s happening.

Royal Air Maroc Joining Oneworld On March 31, 2020

Air Journal reports that Royal Air Maroc will be joining oneworld as of March 31, 2020. That’s certainly earlier than I was expecting, as I anticipated they would join sometime over summer. That’s great news.

It’s normal for it to take a while for airlines to join alliances. They have to align their systems and policies, and given how outdated a lot of airline tech is, that can be quite an undertaking.

Royal Air Maroc will be the next airline to join oneworld

Royal Air Maroc Is A Great Fit For Oneworld

Is this the most exciting addition to an alliance ever? No, most definitely not. Royal Air Maroc is a fairly small airline, with around 60 planes. However, they’re a logical fit for the alliance:

  • Royal Air Maroc already partners with Iberia and Qatar
  • Royal Air Maroc will be oneworld’s first African airline
  • Morocco is a hot travel destination right now
  • Royal Air Maroc often has great fares, so this will be an excellent option for earning oneworld miles
  • Royal Air Maroc releases a good amount of award availability (including in business class, where they usually have at least two seats), though obviously that may change as they join oneworld
  • Most importantly they’re a non-controversial addition, since many major airlines joining oneworld may cause one of the founding members to exercise their veto rights

Where Does Royal Air Maroc Fly?

Royal Air Maroc has five destinations in North America, all of which they serve out of Casablanca. They fly to:

  • Boston
  • Miami
  • Montreal
  • New York JFK
  • Washington Dulles

On top of that, Royal Air Maroc operates flights to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in South America, to select destinations in the Middle East, and to destinations across Europe and Africa. So I’m especially excited about all the new African destinations that oneworld loyalists will have access to.

Here’s their routemap (though it hasn’t been updated in a while, as it doesn’t reflect Boston, which was launched in June 2019):

It’s also worth noting that American will start summer seasonal service between Philadelphia and Casablanca in 2020, so that will provide some connectivity to the Royal Air Maroc network.

How Is Royal Air Maroc’s Business Class?

RAM exclusively operates Boeing 787s on their routes to North America, though in the meantime they have both 787-8s and 787-9s, which feature different onboard products.

On Royal Air Maroc 787-8s they have fully flat business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. It’s an odd configuration, but still good when you consider how short the flights are.

Royal Air Maroc 787-8 business class


Royal Air Maroc 787-8 business class

Royal Air Maroc 787-9s feature superior reverse herringbone business class seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration. This is an excellent product.

Royal Air Maroc 787-9 business class


Royal Air Maroc 787-9 business class

All around I find Royal Air Maroc’s service to be friendly, and their food is pretty good as well.

Royal Air Maroc business class catering


Royal Air Maroc business class catering

If you’re connecting on Royal Air Maroc to Europe or another destination, there’s another cool thing to be aware of. Royal Air Maroc’s 737s feature proper business class seats, similar to what you’d find in domestic first class within the US.

Royal Air Maroc 737 business class

This is much better than what you’d usually find on an intra-Europe flight, for example, where business class is just economy with a blocked middle seat. So in many cases Royal Air Maroc is a comfortable way to get to Europe as well.

Bottom Line

I’m excited to hear that Royal Air Maroc will be joining oneworld on March 31, 2020, which is earlier than I was initially expecting.

While I wouldn’t consider this a game changer for the alliance at large (unless you specifically fly to secondary African markets often), this is nonetheless a positive development. Royal Air Maroc serves an area that’s otherwise not currently well served by oneworld.

The airline has a solid onboard product and is good about releasing award space, so I could both see myself earning and redeeming miles for travel on them.

Are you excited about Royal Air Maroc joining oneworld in a few months?

(Tip of the hat to Point Me To The Plane)

Comments
  1. It would be cool if Royal Air Maroc flew to JNB. It would be a great way to get to South Africa.

  2. I wonder why Iberia never tried to pick up the slack for Oneworld African routes given that Madrid is <600 miles from Casablanca

  3. @keitherson: China Southern Airlines is NOT joining Oneworld as of now, though I had expected it to join rather than Royal Air Maroc. CZ is likely to simply remain without an alliance for the next couple of years.

  4. This is bad news – it spells the end of the brilliant Etihad transfer redemption where you can count on there being award seats available nearly 100% of the time for just 44K miles long haul in J. Oneworld members are going to start snapping up all that inventory.

  5. @ah : my thoughts as well. i was surprised by how TAP Portugal has a mightier African network than Iberia (and I’m counting just continental Africa so not to have the comparison skewed by Spanish-l or Portguese-linked islands off the northwest coast)

    this is a much needed addition ever since oneworld lost Air Berlin and created a HUGE hole in oneworld’s map in continental Europe.

    At least THIS addition is meaningful to oneworld. I don’t see how Fiji is all that useful at all, to say nothing of the perpetual dead-weights like RoyalJordanian, Malaysian, or SriLankan.

  6. @ah @henry LAX

    Isn’t it because European carriers’ coverage of Africa is highly correlated to their colonial history? Spain didn’t colonize the continent nearly as much as france, portgual, belgium, germany, GB, or even italy. so maybe Iberia just didn’t see as much local demand to justify expanding into Africa?

    anyway, very happy with Maroc joining oneworld. this opens up w. Africa nicely for me, especially once Maroc starts flying to Miami.

  7. How would you compare the overall business product to South African & major European airlines (Lufthansa, Air France, Turkish) with regular service to Africa.

    I’m thinking of a one stop flight between US hub and a major African cities.

  8. Casablanca airport is a disorganized hellhole. And outside of the 787’s RAM’s fleet is tired, old and stinky.

  9. Ahhh, Royal Air Maroc, where the pilots were most definitely smoking on my flight with them this past April. And agreed, CMN airport is really overcrowded and a bit dumpy. Which is a shame, because RAK airport is actually quite nice.

  10. I was going to comment how it’d be roundabout for fliers to get from South America to Africa via Casablanca, but then I remembered there’s still LATAM.

  11. A pity their route network doesn’t overlap with Comair, would have given some nice Intra-Africa redemptions.

  12. A very, very welcome addition to OW, which will greatly improve access to West Africa and secondary African cities. Sure, AT is still far from being a carrier of choice (as is CMN as a transit hub), but I think this will now be the quickest way to get to get from continental US to most of Africa without having to rely on *A (TK, ET, MS, SA, all of which often require significant backtracking to West Africa). I flew with them to NDJ earlier this year and even though the flight continued on to NBO, I was surprised to find that the vast majority of passengers disembarked at NDJ. This is game-changing, IMO, for access to these secondary cities.

  13. This is truly, truly fantastic. Hello Bangui! I hope, though, that AA doesn’t raise its africa award rates now that you can actually fly in africa (COMair has ba’s fuel surcharges and i refuse.)

  14. Nice post, although is this really a trait for its fit in OW? ‘Royal Air Maroc often has great fares, so this will be an excellent option for earning oneworld miles’

  15. This is a nice addition as long as AA doesn’t update their routing rules to eliminate my ability to connect in Doha for North America to Africa… What are the odds they do this once they have a partner with direct flights between the regions?

  16. What a Sh!tter ?!? … seriously Why ? … no benes to be seen here
    Not exactly outstanding Lounges etc for OWE folks .. thumbs down all the way

  17. OneWorld and RAM marriage will not last long, RAM is a terrible airline, they treat passengers like crap and they often leave them stranded at airports in europe, at JFK and in Morocco. It happened too many times. travelers with RAM at JFK held a protest against the airline two years ago because they cancelled flight and offered no reason, no vouchers and no assistance and let no one know ahead of time. A lot of people were angry and frustrated and the police showed up to intervene. Really bad idea for OneWorld.

  18. Just had a revenue coach RAM ticket AT/BGF-CMN-NIM. Joined their Safar program just in case that would get me better treatment… it didn’t. On the first seg, advance seat assignment was just a very ruff approximation! Flight attendant would do nothing about it; said take any open seat (except in Business cabin). On the second leg, got my advance window seat but seatmate was a mother with a less than year old baby, lotsa bags (some blocking my aisle access) and a baby carrier which would not fit the overhead; you’d think they would not put this person next to a ‘frequent flyer’ when there were empty seats. I’m 70+ and called in advance (live in DC — thinking I could get reasonable accommodation at one of their North American destinations)… no way… hung up 2-3 times, gave quick, simple answers to get rid of me… they don’t understand their own seating chart. But the main complaint is no hot water in the toilet and then finally no water at all. No ‘handy wipes’ available as a substitute. This is an area of the world where all sorts of diseases run amuck. Believe that’s enough to ground an airplane in the US.

  19. @henrylax
    Spain in general does not at all have a similar historical connection to Africa as France and Portugal. So it is obvious that TAP has a significant amount of African routes unlike Iberia that has no tradition or experience in the African market and usually when they try it things don’t really work out well – their route to NKC is a good example and so is JNB. didn’t last!

  20. @henry LAX – SriLankan, Malaysian, and Royal Jordanian may be “dead-weights” to you if you are based in the States, but for those of us based elsewhere – like, say, Asia! – these are great partners for a GLOBAL airline alliance.

  21. This is excellent news. Based on my experience RAM is not stellar, but has a superior product than most European airlines, in particular in J (real J, not middle seat blocking). Their reliability is also not stellar, but certainly on par with most European airlines (@Nathan: certainly not worse than LX which has a lot of delays/cancellations and is now refusing any compensation unless you litigate …).

    The main issue with RAM is that they serve many destinations only twice or three times a week. This makes connecting difficult, because often the operating days do not coincide.

  22. Casablanca airport is an absolute hell hole, and frankly Casablanca itself does not have many interesting things to visit. Morocco is absolutely worth a visit, but I am not too sure about Casablanca.

  23. Lucky — I am interested in your thoughts in their 787-8 business class — a photo of which you shared above (with beds). I flew on that in November 2017 JFK-CMN-JFK and couldn’t figure out why one side of the two-seat configuration had an -elevated- flat bed seat over the other one. For all my flying to 106 countries around the world, I’ve never seen that “feature” anywhere else. Why?

  24. @Ralph4878, spot on! The naysayers seem to be U.S. based with little intra-region travel elsewhere. I fly Africa to Africa a lot and will be happy to see an addition to ET and SA for that purpose, with quite a few non-overlapping destinations.

  25. I’m just reviewing their schedules and I’m really surprised to see that they operate a seasonal daytime eastbound flight out of both JFK and YUL, this in addition to the year around red eye. The day time flights arrive quite late in CMN, so you would need to stay in a hotel. But I really love daytime flights across the Atlantic since I don’t feel any jet lag on them.

    I’m sure I will use them regularly.

  26. Speaking of Africa flights … Do you, or anyone else, know why you can’t include southern Africa on the One World round the world tickets or on, i believe, the 4 or 5 (whatever number) continent tickets they have? That is ridiculously poor and apparently has been the case for some months.

  27. Excellent news for getting to those obscure and off-the-beaten-track destinations in Africa such as Kinshasa and N’Djamena using AA miles … and not having to go via Abu Dhabi or Doha!

  28. “This is truly, truly fantastic. Hello Bangui!” I did that route. Never again. And Casablanca airport is a dump.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *