Air India Joining Star Alliance By July 2014

There’s no doubt the Star Alliance is having a rough year so far. In March they lost TAM and US Airways to oneworld as member airlines. Similarly, oneworld has experienced impressive growth, between the addition of TAM, US Airways, Qatar Airways, and SriLankan over the past several months.

To some degree I suppose desperate times call for desperate measures, in that Air India will finally be joining the Star Alliance by this July.

This has been a rather exciting journey, as Air India’s intentions to join the Star Alliance date as far back as 2007. Then in 2011 they discontinued the process, as Air India apparently didn’t meet Star Alliance standards:

Star says that “suspension was a joint decision which allowed Air India to focus on completing its merger with Indian Airlines, without the distraction of the work required for full integration into the Star Alliance network.”

However, Star’s 2011 decision to halt Air India’s integration came as Air India had been grappling with a series of financial, operational and customer-service issues.

In fact, Star itself said in a July 2011 statement that Air India’s application had been “suspended … due to the fact that Air India has not met the minimum joining conditions that were contractually agreed in December 2007.”

Then this past December it was announced that Air India would actually be joining the Star Alliance, though no official timeline was set.

Well, in the past week we’ve been given an official timeline, and it appears as if Air India will be joining the Star Alliance by July of this year.

Color me excited, because I really want to fly Air India’s longhaul premium cabin product…

And even for those less excited about longhaul premium cabin redemptions on them, at the end of the day I think it’s better for even a mediocre (at best) carrier to belong to an alliance than not to, given the additional reciprocal benefits you get as an elite member if you do ever find yourself flying them…

Comments

  1. That seems pretty sporty — 2 months? I have to assume that a lot of the groundwork was laid already and that work has been progressing, but still seems sporty.

  2. @ Trevor — Agreed, though my understanding is that they’ve already met a lot of the requirements for joining the Star Alliance and have already done a lot of the “paperwork.”

  3. I can understand why mediocre national carriers would join an alliance, however I don’t see the point of having one of the gulf airlines in an alliance.

  4. “I can understand why mediocre national carriers would join an alliance, however I don’t see the point of having one of the gulf airlines in an alliance.”

    exactly! the whole notion of Gulf airlines is that their single hub can handle all your needs – everything is 1-stop, and no such thing as alliance hub-to-hub (unless you need Pune-Bismarck kinda of routing)

    Bringing QR into oneworld was purely for one reason – India.

  5. This is a love-hate combo for me. I have no love for Air India. But Star Alliance’s operation to HYD airport is only from BKK, which makes it extremely difficult to route from the East Coast. It opens plenty of options for adding a connecting flight within India from a major star alliance hub like Mumbai.

  6. Holy crap.

    I have flown AI about a dozen times. Each time was worse than the previous. AI is truly one of the world’s worst airlines, I have no doubt about that.

    It seems that AI and Jet Airways are always competing for who can provide worse customer service and punctuality.

  7. The local connection argument is only of partial merit, as the LCCs (e.g., SpiceJet, IndiGo) in India are far better run and are eating AI’s lunch. In fact, IndiGo is the largest airline in India; AI has slipped to third.

  8. Had a great experience on IndiGo a few years back – efficient, friendly, and on time. The Indian government needs to divest itself of the national carrier and let it sink or swim on its own. Other airlines will take its place if it can’t compete.

  9. That sucks! Air India is definitely the worst airline in indian subcontinent! SA should invite Jet Airways instead

  10. My company won’t allow employees to fly on certain airlines, Air India is on that rather short list.

  11. Interesting to hear the comments, but wondering when the last time people actually flew AI? We did a trip throughout India and the Maldives 2 years ago, and flew several carriers (SpiceJet, JetConnect, Air India, and Maldivian. We flew AMD to BOM to TRV on Air India, we were pleasantly surprised that the service was good, planes were clean, and good-tasting complimentary hot meals on short flights. Far better coach experience than any of the legacy US domestic carriers. This isn’t the Air India from the 1980’s.

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