PLEASE NOTE CORRECTED INFORMATION AND POSTSCRIPT BELOW
Skyteam has come from a late last place to a good second with Star retaining its global dominance in airline alliances.
However along the way – as the key players have been snapped up and now more than 70% of all global airline traffic can be booked on one of the big 3 alliances – there was bound to be a cultural problem or two.
And sure enough there is. As the Huffington post is reporting – Delta passengers on the code share flight with SV-Saudi Arabian Airlines (also known as Saudia) must comply with Saudia’s rules. This includes..
1. No Jews or Israelis
2. No Outward displays of religious affiliation other than that of Islam
3. Women must be accompanied by their husbands or a close male family relative
4. No transportation of religious artifacts of the Christian or Jewish or indeed any non-Islamic faith.
5. Oh yes and don’t expect any Martinis on the flight.
CORRECTION: DELTA IS NOT CODESHARING WITH SAUDIA.
When I checked the story to start with I could not find any DL Code shares out there with SV. Now I understand that Delta has issued a statement that indicates that they will not code share but will of course (as they do today) still interline.
This is of course well within the right of Saudia to insist on this policy which has existed for many years. Further entry into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is governed by the same level of restriction through its strict Visa program.
EVERY country has the right of self determination, however – Code Shares across boundaries somewhat messes up the global order. OK for conventional arrangements but not for situations like this. So what is Delta to do? Hmmm – someone in International planning is probably sweating bricks right now. Cultural sensitivity is always hard. So the simple answer is that you hope and pray that the controversy blows over. Fat chance. You can cancel the agreement and then Delta becomes the symbol of American Jewry to all Islamists. OR Delta takes a pragmatic approach that is all inclusive. IE That on DL served flights the rule applies and non DL operated flights those rules apply. If then those who arrive in KSA with these bad things – then they have to accept the consequence. BUT DL must now accept that it has to operate some of these flights rather than allowing SV to operate all DL coded flights to KSA.
This makes most of the point of my story different in the narrative. However my point is writing the story in the first place is that these restrictions will occur no matter what happens. There are different policies some of which are governed by national requirements, some are operational requirements. As a frequent flyer I am exposed to these issues ALL the time. It is an occupational hazard of code sharing. I have pointed out in the past that the so-called seamless experience between carriers is a myth.
As the practice of code-shares proliferates then you will find more of these types of situations emerging. And that was the point of this story. Thanks for reading!!!!