United Airlines has ended a once bitter feud with the Dubai-based Emirates to announce details of a new partnership that left many industry analysts slightly underwhelmed.
The scope of the partnership shouldn’t, however, detract from the fact that United and Emirates have finally put their differences aside and rekindled an old and almost forgotten business agreement.
On United’s side, the headline of the partnership is the airline’s decision to restart a daily service between Newark and Dubai starting in March 2023. United has flown to Dubai since 2016 when it completely abandoned the United Arab Emirates citing “overcapacity” in the market at the hands of Emirates.
The daily flight will allow United passengers to connect through to Emirates’ and flydubai’s extensive global network, while Emirates passengers flying into 11 U.S. gateways will be able to easily connect to hundreds of other destinations served by United.
The connection service will begin in November in Chicago, San Francisco, and Houston, while an interline agreement between the two airlines will be in force at the eight other destinations that Emirates flies to in the United States.
Interlining allows passengers to fly with two different airlines on one ticket, but the practice isn’t as impressive as a codeshare agreement in which an airline assigns their two letter designator and flight number to a service operated by another airline.
Some analysts were, though, most disappointed with a lacklustre tie-up between the two carrier’s frequent flyer programs. For example, Emirates Skywards members will soon be able to earn miles when they travel on United flights, but they won’t be able to redeem their miles.
And United Mileage Plus members will only be able to earn and redeem miles on Emirates and flydubai flights on connecting services after they’ve flown on United’s Newark to Dubai flight.
The airlines said codeshare passengers would be allowed to use Emirates’ and United’s airport lounges, but further details on lounge sharing and other frequent flyer benefits would be made public for several more weeks.
Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates said at an event held in a United hangar at Dulles airport on Wednesday to announce the partnership that he was looking “forward to developing our partnership with United for the long term.”
The partnership will allow United and Emirates to better compete with American Airlines and Qatar Airways who launched their own tie-up just before the pandemic in early 2020. The partnership has seen American Airlines launch direct flights to Doha where Qatar Airways is trying to build a hub for the oneworld alliance.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.