Korean Air and Asiana link check-in ahead of takeover
In a move both practical and possibly highly symbolic, Korean Air can now check you through if you are later connecting to an onward Asiana flight.
It is the first step in the formation of the Korean mega carrier, even though the historic acquisition consolidating the sector is not yet complete.
With the new service, a passenger checking in will get two boarding passes, one for Korean Air and one for Asiana, if they change airlines during their travels. They will also be able to choose their seats for both flights at check-in at the first airport.
Prior to the addition of the service, a passenger would have to get a new boarding pass during transit, going to the Asiana counter and checking in again.
It works the other way too. Asiana can issue a Korean Air boarding pass to passengers switching carriers at transit.
The arrangement is not that unique. Korean Air already does the same for 49 carriers, including Delta and Air France. But it has not offered the straight-through check-in to rival Asiana until now.
Korean Air Lines will be acquiring a majority of Asiana Airlines, and the plan is to eventually merge the two airlines into a single carrier with one brand name, one ticketing system and one points program. But the deal has been controversial, with the largest shareholder of Korean Air Lines objecting, and approval still needed from antitrust bodies worldwide.
“This kind of service won’t be necessary once the takeover is complete, but it could raise convenience of passengers as Asiana Airlines is becoming a subsidiary,” said a spokesperson for Korean Air Lines. “Many seem to be seeing the service as part of the integration process of the two airlines.”
Shares of Korean Air Lines and Asiana Airlines rose in early trading Tuesday despite the Kospi trending down.
BY JIN MIN-JI [firstname.lastname@example.org]