The One World Alliance is simply a collection of air carriers that make it easier to redeem and collect air mileage points when flying on one or more of those carriers. One World Alliance was formed in 1999 by American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas, considered the four founding alliance members. That same year Finnair and Iberia joined, followed by LAN in 2000.
In 2007, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian joined, followed by S7 Airlines in 2010 and Air Berlin in 2012. Rounding out the list are Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, TAM Airlines, US Airways and Sri Lankan Airlines. In addition, some carriers, such as American Airlines and British Airways, have affiliate regional carriers that also participate.
Members of One World frequent flyer programs may book online through the One World website OneWorld.com or through member carriers. The frequent flyer programs are labeled Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald. Benefits are tiered, with the Ruby program offering basics such as priority standby flying, preferred seating and priority check-in for Business class. The top-of-the-line Emerald plan adds perks such as private lounges, fast tracking through security and extra baggage allowance.
The One World Explorer ticket is one of the biggest perks. The fare is based on the total distance flown, rather than using point-to-point pricing. Since One World has so many participating carriers, it's easy to plan a less expensive around-the-world trip.