UPDATE | A Singapore Airlines executive has blamed United Airlines for choosing to remove SQ award seats from United's website.
United Airlines has maintained that the controversial decision was a joint decision of both airlines, with a United spokesperson previously telling Australian Business Traveller the move was "based on a mutual agreement."
However Nicholas Ionides, Vice President of Public Affairs at Singapore Airlines, has laid the blame squarely at United's doorstep.
"United Airlines decided to take SQ award inventory off their own site" Ionides reportedly told a gathering of frequent flyers in Singapore earlier today, adding for further clarity that it was "their decision, not ours."
PREVIOUS | Singapore Airlines insists it is not removing award seats from the websites of Star Alliance partners, and suggests that United Airlines is solely responsible for last week's removal of SQ award inventory – seats available in exchange for frequent flyer points – from United's website and mobile apps.
"There is no change in inventory access for Star Alliance partners or in Singapore Airlines' redemption policies" a Singapore Airlines spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller.
"However, each Star Alliance member carrier may choose how to fulfill such redemptions differently, which we have no influence over."
"For example, some Star carriers may choose to allow their respective frequent flier programme members access to redemption online or offline, depending on their respective platforms."
While some travellers claim a noticeable reduction in the number of award seats available online through other Star Alliance members, the spokesperson replied that "typical redemption inventory availability is driven by expected demand on your flight."
"As far as we are concerned there is no change to inventory access."
Who's behind the missing seats?
However, United Airlines disputes SQ's claim that it had "no influence over" United's decision to force members of its Mileage Plus frequent flyer scheme to call the airline's reservations line to check availability of Singapore Airlines award seats instead of being able to search and book those seats online.
"Our ability to display award inventory on united.com and the United Mobile App is based on a mutual agreement with our partners" a spokesperson for United Airlines told Australian Business Traveller.
"At this time, Singapore Airlines and United have agreed to remove Singapore Airlines’ inventory from these channels."
When asked to explain why United removed SQ awards seats from online, the spokesperson replied "United have no further statement to make on this matter, aside from the statement that has been provided."
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