NEW DELHI: Globetrotting will now bring cheers to Indian flyers as national carrier Air India on Friday joined Star Alliance, the world’s largest network of airlines with 27 members providing not just seamless travel but other benefits as well including access to lounge at all airports and frequent flyer benefits.
The Star Alliance network including Air India will now be offering more than 18,500 daily flights serving 1,316 destinations in 192 countries.
Rohit Nandan, Air India chairman and managing director, said the AI was proud to be a member of the prestigious airline Alliance. “From today, we open up a completely different world for our passengers, who can now travel to over 1,300 destinations right across the network and enjoy world-class service, better connectivity and seamless travel wherever they go,” Nandan added.
An Air India aircraft with the Star Alliance logo and livery was unveiled by the Star Alliance CEO Mark Schwab and Rohit Nandan at the IGI Airport.
Schwab said with Air India induction the network achieved the goal. “This is an important day for us. We have said for many years that we needed a strong home carrier in the Indian market and by welcoming Air India to our Star Alliance family, we have achieved this goal,” Schwab said.
A joint statement issued by Air India and Star Alliance said the national carrier would now offer through check-in to the final destination for connecting flights operated by any Star Alliance member airline for both passengers and baggage, hence providing seamless travel. Flyers will not have to collect their boarding passes for connecting flights at the transfer airports and as per local custom regulations baggage will also be sent through to the final destinations. It said the reciprocal frequent flyer benefits between AI’s flying returns programme and those of the existing member carriers are also being activated.
“These provide customers with more options in earning and redeeming, upgrading and obtaining Star Alliance Gold status,” the joint statement added. The Flying Returns members who hold Maharajah Club or Golden Edge Club status now automatically also have Star Alliance Gold status, giving them access to more than 1,000 lounges across the global network. Gold status customers can also check in at specially-designated counters.