The oneworld alliance will gain three valuable new members early this year – and Qantas an additional three partners for codeshare flights – as US Airways, Brazil's TAM and SriLankan Airlines all sign up in the first six months of 2014.
US Airways and TAM will both sign on the dotted line on March 31st, leaving the competing Star Alliance in the process, while a spokesman for oneworld told Australian Business Traveller "we haven't set a firm target date for SriLankan as yet, but it will be first half of the year."
US Airways will shift to oneworld as part of its merger with American Airlines, which was finalised overnight to create the world's largest airline (although it will still operate under the American Airlines brand).
Although American Airlines already boasts plenty of well-established routes in the USA, travellers will find the addition of US Airways onto AA's network map will improve connections to and along the US east coast due to US Airways' hubs at Washington's city-centre National airport (DCA), Philadelphia and at Charlotte in North Carolina.
Also on March 31st, TAM Airlines will join its Chilean sibling LAN and boost the network of flights and point-earning options available to Qantas travellers throughout South America.
An additional sweetener is the opportunity to trade your points on a jaunt in of the world's best first class cabins: TAM's "living room in the sky" suite, with everything from a wide couch and personal closet to a Nespresso machine!
LAN and TAM, which operate as the LATAM Airlines Group, are also opening a series of new South American 'VIP lounges' where weary oneworld travellers can put up their feet.
The first, at El Dorado International Airport in the Colombian capital of Bogota, opened last month, with new lounges at LAN's home ground of Santiago and TAM's Sao Paulo hub to follow next year, a spokesman for LAN advised Australian Business Traveller, along with "a redesigned Miami VIP lounge".
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