The Oneworld alliance is marking its 20th anniversary by enhancing its member airlines’ digital services and rolling out alliance-branded and managed airport lounges later this year.

Starting in 2019, Oneworld member airlines will be able to offer passengers, through their own individual apps, the ability to check-in, obtain e-boarding passes, receive information and updates on their flights and track their baggage for connecting services with any alliance partner.

Other features will be added in the future, according to Oneworld, including full seat selection (even when a payment is required), the ability to pay for additional baggage and locations of lounges and priority lanes through security for those eligible to use them.

This functionality is being facilitated by a platform developed by Oneworld called Carrierconnect, which allows for the exchange of interline data in a standardised format between individual member apps and websites.

The alliance says this will “deliver an elevated digital experience for customers transferring between” its member airlines.

Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways are the first Oneworld members to implement the new connection, allowing passengers to use either airline’s app and website to check-in and receive boarding passes for connecting flights.

The alliance says other airlines will be added to the project over the next 18 months, with flight information and baggage status due to be rolled out later this year and other features to be added later on.

Oneworld CEO Rob Gurney said: “The role of global alliances like Oneworld is to connect the networks of airlines, making it easier and more rewarding for customers to travel to many more places beyond the reach of any single carrier. Our new digital platform brings our promise of seamless connectivity to life in the digital era – delivering multi-airline, multi-sector journeys the way they should be in this millennial day and age.”

Gurney claims three-quarters of Oneworld frequent flyers use at least one airline app, with half having at least three airline apps on their mobile devices.

In addition to the digital upgrades, the alliance has announced the roll-out of Oneworld-branded and managed airport lounges, with the location of the first due to be announced later this year.

Collectively, member airlines operate 650 individually-branded airport lounges worldwide. Gurney added: “By working together, it may be feasible at some locations for our members to offer customers improved facilities – bigger and better lounges than they could justify individually.”

Meanwhile, co-location projects at key airports being managed by the alliance are increasing.

Gurney concluded: “Oneworld aims to bring its member airlines operating at all airports worldwide together under one roof, to smooth transfers for passengers connecting between different carriers’ flights, wherever the opportunities are available and wherever it makes sense. We are working on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities at some of our most important gateways in Asia, the Americas and Europe with the aim of delivering the best experience for customers at each of these locations.”

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