In short, as a frequent flyer with Oneworld Emerald status, the passenger should have been offered access to the lounge at Kathmandu when departing on Malaysia Airlines for Kuala Lumpur, even when booked in Economy. There were a number of complications in this instance that meant things did not go as smoothly as they should:
• The passenger had entered his non-Oneworld frequent flyer details (Etihad Guest) in his flight booking rather than his Cathay Pacific frequent flyer (Oneworld) details.
• We understand that he also asked to be able to take two guests into the lounge – understandable as he was travelling with his parents – when, by the rule book, the Oneworld Emerald entitlement is one guest.
• Kathmandu is not high on the list of airports worldwide used most frequently by Oneworld Emeralds, so our customer-handling colleagues there may not have been as familiar with the minutiae of Oneworld procedures for Emeralds as those at busier airports, particularly in more complicated situations such as this. We have asked our colleagues at Malaysia Airlines to review this with them.
Priority handling of baggage is managed these days electronically, via the bar code on the baggage tag, rather than via the vibrantly coloured priority tag – but, if this is to work, it does need the passenger’s Oneworld frequent flyer details to be included in his or her booking record.
The best advice, if you want to be sure of receiving your Oneworld frequent flyer services and benefits wherever you travel across the alliance's 1,000-plus destination network throughout the world, is to ensure your Oneworld frequent flyer details are included in your booking, either at the time you make your initial reservation, or by updating it before starting your journey.