Scoot, Tigerair and 6 others form world's 'biggest' budget carrier alliance - but what does it mean?

Scoot, Tigerair and 6 others form world's 'biggest' budget carrier alliance - but what does it mean?
PHOTO: Value Alliance

SINGAPORE - Eight carriers from across the Asian region have joined forces to form the world's first - and apparently the biggest - pan-regional, low-cost carrier alliance.

Sounds good, but what does it mean to you and I?

The partner carriers comprise Scoot, Tigerair Singapore, Tigerair Australia, Cebu Pacific (including subsidiary Cebgo), South Korea's Jeju Air, Thailand's Nok Air and NokScoot, and Japan's Vanilla Air.

When all partner airlines come on board in the next six to nine months, travellers will be able to book flights from any of the carriers in a single transaction, directly from each airline's website. Scoot, Nok Air and NokScoot currently offer each other's flights and fares, with more to follow in the next months.

Called the Value Alliance partnership, travellers can not only book flights, but also select seats and purchase baggage options and other services across the different partner airlines in a single itinerary.

For example, travellers will be able to book a flight from Singapore to Tokyo on Scoot as well a domestic flight from Tokyo to Okinawa with partner airline Vanilla Air, all from the Scoot website. They can also purchase add-ons such as WiFi service and baggage allowances on both flights in that transaction.

This is great for travellers because they can shop for flights across different low-cost carriers and plan their travel itinerary without having to log onto multiple airline websites to make their bookings.

However, do not be mistaken. This is not a frequent flier type of tie-up.

Alliances between full-service carriers, such as OneWorld or Star Alliance, typically offer customers perks such as access to airport lounges and redemption of points on flights by partner airlines.

Value Alliance, however, will not integrate frequent flyer or loyalty programmes across the low-cost carriers.

But what Value Alliance gives travellers is access to the airlines' network of "more than 160 destinations across the Asia Pacific region", including the Middle East, Asia and Japan as well as Australia.

"By working together, we can offer our guests a wider choice of destinations and flights - at the most competitive airfares - all in one go," said Scoot chief executive Campbell Wilson, at the announcement on Monday (May 16).

Well, let's hope Scoot's chief is right about that.

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