United-Continental Launches Japan Alliance with ANA

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United Airlines

United Continental Holdings officially launched its long-awaited transpacific alliance on Friday with Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA), which allows the two American carriers to coordinate fares and schedules on a single ticket with the Tokyo-based airline.

The alliance follows a November 2010 decision by federal regulators to grant anti-trust immunity to the carriers. Under the ruling the carriers are also able to offer connecting service on some routes within Japan or to the Caribbean and Latin America.

"For the greatest number of customers, what they will see differently is tied to accrual of frequent flyer miles," Rashaan Johnson, spokesman for United Continental said.

Members of United's MileagePlus or Continental's One Pass frequent flyer programs will now get the same benefits on ANA flights and elite-level passengers will get bonus miles for taking ANA flights.

ANA spokesperson Nao Gunji says there have been no scheduling changes so far related to the alliance , however additional services and scheduling changes are expected as the alliance is further integrated. The airlnes have cut back on some flights between the two countries since the earthquake and tsunami in March.

The alliance involves a total of 120 flights per week between the U.S. and Japan, including flights to 43 Japanese cities and 295 U.S. cities.

The agreement applies to routes between certain city pairs, including Los Angeles International to Tokyo-Narita or Tokyo Haneda, San Francisco to Tokyo Narita or to Osaka-Kansai; Seattle, Houston, Chicago or New York, Washington D.C. or Honolulu to Tokyo-Narita.

ANA is the largest airline in Japan, carrying 49 million passengers per year, officials said.

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