Continental Airlines Partnership: Will It Benefit Customers?

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq., owner of Ask The Business Lawyer, is an award-winning business attorney, speaker, and Entrepreneur Magazine online contributor. She saves consulting and professional services companies time, money, and aggravation by serving as their outsourced legal counsel.

Posted on June 20, 2013 in Strategic Alliances

Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) and Kingfisher Airlines, one of the fastest growing airlines in India, announced last week that they entered into a comprehensive partnership for frequent flyer and airport lounge access reciprocity. In the effort to provide better service to customers who travel between India and the U.S., the airlines are also offering future codesharing and transfer between the two carriers.

Customers traveling on connecting flights between Continental and Kingfisher will be able to have single check-in for all flights, including the issuance of electronic tickets, boarding passes and checked baggage to their final destination.

While in theory, these kinds of strategic alliances seem sound, they don’t always work for the customers’ benefit. As Julie Lenzer Kirk pointed out in her blog, airline alliance partners can often become the source for finger-pointing — a place to lay the blame — rather than a way to fix the problems that exist.  As she pointed out in describing her travel nightmares with Delta and Alitalia, “[t]his so-called partnership was convenient when trying to collect money but dissolved when money needed to be shelled out [to pay for customer inconvenience].”

Your strategic alliances may grant you greater access to new customers, or provide more services to the customers you already have.  But in the end, are your customers being served?  Or are they encountering yet another source of frustration?

 

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