Singapore Airlines: blame United for pulling SQ award seats offline

Singapore Airlines: blame United for pulling SQ award seats offline

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 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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David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • TheRealBabushka


    19 Dec, 2013 05:23 pm

    So who's lying?

    No member give thanks

  • undertheradar


    19 Dec, 2013 05:26 pm

    maybe the details have been 'lost in translation' .....from English to Singlish.. lol

    No member give thanks

  • riskman


    19 Dec, 2013 05:40 pm

    SQ have pulled seats off other star alliance partners as well, such as Avianca...its obviously them....

    No member give thanks

  • williamsusanto


    19 Dec, 2013 09:54 pm

    It is SQ responsibility as I am a Gold member for both UA & SQ. As you know that when you redeem award seat through UA mileageplus for an SQ flight you only pay for small tax. However when you redeem SQ flight through Krsiflyer SQ, the same flight itinerary that you pay only little tax, you will end up pay like half the actual fare since SQ penalize you with tax & fuel surcharge. Example: you redeem SQ 12 for LAX-SIN through mileage plus you only pay around $ 48/pax. However when you redeem SQ 12 LAX-SIN you will end up pay around $ 450/pax ( estimated ). You can check yourself. This is definately SQ who initiated to hide seat availibilty from UA/Star alliance partner redemption scheme. Thank you

    No member give thanks

  • Des Porter

    Des des

    20 Dec, 2013 10:49 am

    Star alliance  is only a marketing alliance with no real responsibility or care.  Those of use who lost hundreds of thousands of points when star alliance member Ansett collapsed realised the futility of this so called organisation, Star Alliance carried on ignoring hundreds of thousands who had paid fares,accrued points lost out. . Worse...Air New Zealand and Singapore airlines  majority shareholders in Ansett and foundation  Star  Alliance members sat back and watched. Iwill stick to One Worl d programme and always avoid flying withbStar Alliance members. As ye sow so shall ye reap.

    No member give thanks

  • eugoose


    20 Dec, 2013 03:23 pm

    What utter rubbish. Do you think if Qantas went bust, CX or Iberia would even bat an eyelid? What about those poor folks who acrrued with Aer Lingus, then got stuck with *no* alliance when Aer Lingus left Oneworld?

    No member give thanks

  • Des Porter

    Des des

    20 Dec, 2013 05:09 pm

    Eu goes might think it is rubbish but he is defending the alliance is purely a marketing tool....when Ansett collapsed  star alliance and ansetts major shareholders Singapore airlines and air newzealand  did absolutely nothing...they watched as the unions even changed administrators....if you are going to call it a loyalty programme star alliance,show some loyalty.... .recently the largest asset in qantas is their loyalty programme estimated to be worth up to half a billion dollars. Looking back star alliance was too timid  or too disinterested to realise that along with Singapore airlines and air New Zealand they could  have offered something to keep the loyalty of members, They failed miserably star alliance is weaker than one world accordingly

    No member give thanks

  • eugoose


    20 Dec, 2013 07:38 pm

    So, to sum it up, you have a decade long grudge against Star Alliance, because Ansett collapsed? I'm not even going to go into detail about how alliances are made up of independent airlines, and not drinking buddies sharing tips.

    If I recall, no-one in Oneworld lifted a finger to help Aer Lingus when it got into financial trouble. And let's not forget the current feud between Qantas, and BA/CX. Oh, and what about the hate AirBerlin gets all the time? I'm glad your grudge against something that happened over ten years ago is making you stick to another alliance that is having a lot of  (current) member issues.

    No member give thanks


23 Oct, 2018 12:37 pm


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