As reported here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/busin...ok-service-agreement-20120510,0,7071654.story United Airlines (UA) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) are rolling out a collaboration allowing passengers to travel on either or both airlines as if they were one carrier for flights from Bangkok to the US.In total, the two airlines are establishing six such partnership pacts. Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Philippine routes are already covered by similar agreements.Vietnam will be added to the list soon. The UA-ANA Bangkok cooperation is being called a joint venture by the airlines. They will coordinate their schedules, pricing and marketing.The airlines have received immunity from US anti-trust laws, which the collaboration might have violated given the level of cooperation and coordination envisioned.That immunity forms part of the US-Japan Open Skies Agreement struck two years ago, James Mueller, UA's vice-president for Atlantic and Pacific sales, explained in a briefing in Bangkok on Wednesday.The UA-ANA collaboration takes cooperation between the two airlines beyond the general cooperation in place within Star Alliance, the world's largest airline alliance. Both airlines are members.From a legal perspective, the joint venture permits UA to operate as if it were a Japanese airline and ANA to operate as if it were an American carrier, said Mr Mueller. UA has worked with Lufthansa in a similar manner for years on transatlantic routes.As a result of the joint venture, passengers can choose either airline for flights between Bangkok and Narita and for flights between Narita and the US.For instance, they could fly ANA to the US and return on UA.They would pay the same fare for flights between Thailand and the US regardless of which airline they use _ UA, ANA or some combination of the two.UA operates a daily flight between Bangkok and Narita using a Boeing 777-200. ANA offers two Bangkok-Narita flights and one Bangkok-Haneda flight, using Boeing 767-300ERs on all three of the Bangkok-Tokyo flights.ANA flies to six US cities _ New York, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Honolulu from Narita.UA, which has operated in Thailand for 26 years, serves 224 destinations in the US.Dave Hilfman, UA's senior vice-president for worldwide sales, said his company is undertaking a US$550-million upgrade of its long-haul premium-cabin service.More than 130 UA aircraft will be outfitted with flat-bed seats.Once the upgrade is completed early next year, UA will offer more premium-cabin flat-bed seats than any other airline in the world.Some UA flights to Bangkok already use upgraded aircraft. Eventually, all UA aircraft deployed on the Bangkok route will be upgraded.Mr Mueller added that UA flights serving Bangkok will offer WiFi connectivity early next year.