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Earlier this year, American Airlines, British Airways (BA) and Iberia obtained approval that allows the airlines to cooperate commercially on flights between the European Union, Switzerland and Norway, and the U.S., Canada and Mexico. This new relationship, which officially launched on Oct. 1, 2010, was a long time in the making, but the result is a big payoff for you, allowing American, with BA and Iberia, to offer more choices, more destinations, more flights and more fares from which to choose.

As I’ve said before, American has a renewed focus on providing our customers with a superior travel experience. As we collaborate with BA and Iberia through this enhanced oneworld relationship, we are also focused on consistently delivering on the things that matter most in your travel experience, regardless of which of the three airlines you’re flying.

While this undertaking is a big one, I have already seen a number of significant customer benefits come into play for you. You now have access to a broader network, and you can mix and match flight options across all three of our combined networks. That’s 433 destinations in 105 countries, with 5,178 daily departures.

One thing we’ve heard loud and clear from our AAdvantage members is a desire for more opportunities to earn and burn miles on airline participants and to have these miles count toward their tier status. This enhancement to oneworld means that members of the American Airlines AAdvantage program, BA’s Executive Club or Iberia’s Plus frequent-flier programs can now book the most convenient flights, knowing you’ll be able to earn and redeem miles on each airline’s flights between the U.S. and Europe. And, for the first time, oneworld Emerald cardholders will have access to the British Airways Galleries arrivals lounge and the American Airlines arrivals lounge at London Heathrow when traveling on an American or a BA trans-Atlantic flight, regardless of which cabin you fly in.

Connecting in Chicago O’Hare, Miami, New York JFK, London Heathrow or Madrid? Your connections will become easier with our new oneworld Transfer Support Centers. These centers utilize a team drawn from American, BA and Iberia to help you with a missed connection or if your flight is scheduled to arrive with less than the minimum connection time. Our teams will actively assist you through the airport process faster to get you to your connection, or they will seamlessly reaccommodate you, making use of the enhanced network. At Chicago O’Hare, for example, in the first five months the center was open, we helped make thousands of connections for customers who would have otherwise missed their flights.

We’ve also integrated customer touchpoints across the three airlines to provide easier booking and check-in. Now you can book your trans-Atlantic flight on any of the airlines’ websites, regardless of which airline operates the aircraft for that flight. You also will be able to check in and print a boarding pass on the website of the airline operating your flight or on that of the airline on which you initially booked your flight. And in summer 2011, we will align schedules and retime flights to give you a greater range of departure times. So, for example, if you’re flying between London and Chicago, four of the six flights operated by BA and American will now be more evenly spaced to provide you with better schedule options.*

This is a huge win for you, our customer, and I am excited about the enhanced relationship and the benefits you will experience as we continue to collaborate with BA and Iberia. This spring, we’ll be expanding oneworld benefits even more by expanding flights across the Pacific on Japan Airlines. I look forward to sharing those details with you.

In the meantime, we would love to hear what you have to say about your experiences on American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia Please write us at www.aa.com/customerrelations. And thank you for choosing American Airlines.

(Editor’s note: Since the inception of the Customer Cup program, in the second quarter of 2008, there have been 34 unique cities recognized for success in enhancing the Customer Experience at American Airlines.)

Craig S. Kreeger
Senior Vice President – Customer Experience
American Airlines