Three Lufthansa Group Ailrlines; Austrian Airlines, British Midland International (BMI) and Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) will join the immunized transatlantic joint venture established in 2009 by Air Canada, Continental Airlines, Lufthansa and United Airlines.
Reports are that the three carriers will join the joint venture sometime this year "as sub-brands of Lufthansa, not as individual partners"
What is all this mean? Well right now when you look for flights lets say from BWI to FRA you will find that on the web-pages of Air Canada, Continental Airlines, Lufthansa and United Airlines the prices will be almost, if not exact. The routing will be different for sure all flights will be operated by one of the listed airlines but the after tax price almost always ends up the same.
Starting this summer you will find routing to include co-share flights operated by Austrian Airlines, BMI and SWISS.
One other thing to look out for is mileage earnings, on UNITED for example once the immunized transatlantic joint venture went into effect flying on most all transatlantic fares on LH, AC, CO, UA all earn miles with UNITED, elites get bonuses; as well as EQM bonuses on full Economy, Business, and First fares. Right now flying on cheap economy fares on SWISS and Austrian over the Atlantic do not earn miles with UNITED also Business and First booking do not earn bonus EQM's, I would expect this to change. You can view the current fares you will earn UNITED miles on here and all the bonuses.