Bonanza for travellers as Air India aim for the stars

Mumbai: Air India is becoming a member of Star Alliance, a 26-member global airlines group, giving the passengers seamless access to over 1,200 destinations. This comes after a seven-year wait because Air India was accepted as a future member of the network in 2007, but the integration was halted to allow Air India to focus on its merger with Indian Airlines.

The membership of Air India into Star Alliance will result in several benefits for the airline and its passengers, many of whom can also earn and use frequent flyer miles on the entire alliance network. The member airlines of Star Alliance together own a total of 4,338 aircraft and fly over 640 million passengers a year.

Here’s what it means for you and me if Air India is included into Star Alliance:
Code Share: It is essentially an agreement between two airlines to use each other’s existing route. For the flyer, this makes connections simpler by allowing single bookings across multiple planes. As a member of the Star Alliance, Air India will be able to code share with 26 other airlines.

For example, if you want to travel from Delhi to Cuba and there is no direct flight. If Air India is part of the Star Alliance, it can give you a ticket to Havana, say, in combination with Air Canada.

Frequent Flyer Miles and Lounge Access: The miles you collect on each route can be exchanged for upgrades/free travel cross the other airlines’ network. If Air India becomes a member of Star Alliance, then travelling on all these 26 airlines and routes will help you collect flying miles on one card. Besides, you can also gain access to lounges of other airlines at various airports.

Seamless Transfers: Your luggage transfer will be taken care of between the airlines and you don’t have to worry about it.

 (With Agency Inputs)

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