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Germany’s second largest airline, Air Berlin (Airline code AB), announced yesterday that is will be joining the One World alliance. While this may not take effect for over a year, I think its a great win for Oneworld mileage collectors. The airline has an extensive list of destinations and will allow Oneworld mileage redeemers more options to interesting destinations like the Maldives, Reykjavik, Tel Aviv and Palma de Mallorca.
Some key points:
1) With the addition of Air Berlin, Oneworld will be the only alliance to allow mileage redemptions to Iceland. Air Berlin operates over 1/3 of the flights out of Reykjavik.
2) Air Berlin will allow east coasters non-stop access to Germany via JFK, Miami and Ft. Myers. Currently, all Oneworld flights to Germany either go non-stop through Dallas, or connect in Europe.
3) Air Berlin serves more cities in Germany than Lufthansa (23 in total).
4) US non-stop routes include Dusseldorf from : JFK, MIA, RSW (Fort Meyers, FL), LAX and SFO.
While Air Berlin is a semi-low cost carrier, they do have a fleet of Airbus A330s equipped with a decent business class. However, I don’t feel bad for Oneworld members- they have more than enough premium cabin redemption options between Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Qantas and JAL. The addition of Air Berlin increases the alliance’s global footprint and give its members more redemption options. Overall, I think its a very positive announcement for mileage collectors in general- hopefully pushing the other alliances to add to their ranks.