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…