The big day is still about 12-15 hours away, but Air India seems to be ready this time to join the Star Alliance. In 2011, they were jilted at the altar, and now Star Alliance and Air India have kissed and made up.

Here are a couple of pictures of the Air India A320 VT-ESF, which is painted in the Star Alliance livery for tomorrow’s induction ceremony. At a later date, there will also be a Boeing 787 painted in the Star Alliance livery as well.

Pictures courtesy OmniFlyers’ Facebook page.

It seems at least two other airlines will fly their Star Alliance livery planes to India tomorrow, and there will be a star formation at Delhi Airport for the induction ceremony.

Furthermore, my AwardWallet account already shows me as a Star Alliance Gold tier! Though the Air India website does not!

Are you excited about Air India joining Star Alliance? I for sure am!

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 2 Comments

While I have not been on an Air India plane in about 40 days or more now, Air India is now about 4 days away from getting inducted into the Star Alliance, and first pictures have begin to emerge of how they are sporting the logo on their livery and around the airline. This looks real now, and official in 4 days I presume:

This is a picture taken by OnePassenger and posted on FlyerTalk. Of course, I am looking forward to sighting the A320 and the B787 which will be painted and unveiled in the Star Alliance livery on July 11, 2014.

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Earlier this week, I put out the news about the official joining date for Air India to come into Star Alliance, the largest airline alliance. July 11, 2014 would be the day when they become the 27th airline to join the alliance.

Readers have asked me over email and comments about the details of how is this going to impact their travels, and I thought it would be a good idea to make a post on how things will be different with Air India here on. While details are sketchy, I’m sure we will have more details soon.

  • More destinations and choices: When an alliance comes into the picture, all the airlines codeshare with each other to be able to offer a bigger route network to their passengers. This means, you can have a flight booked on Air India to travel from Mumbai to Singapore, and then connect on a Singapore Airlines flight to Sydney from there and a Air New Zealand flight from Sydney to Wellington, and get similar consideration for your travels across the board in terms of baggage handling, co-located facilities on various airports (grouped with other Star Alliance carriers) and in case of misconnections or problems, hopefully a more synchronous response outside India. You also get to receive your boarding passes across your trip, right here when you start in India.
  • Mileage earning and burning of AI miles across Star Alliance carriers: Congratulations. Your Air India Flying Returns miles just got much more valuable. While earlier you could use your AI miles to burn on AI’s domestic and international operations, apart from Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa, now you should be able to burn them on all *A carriers such as United, Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Avianca and others. The new award chart is still to be published, so we don’t know where the gems lie, but this would be known soon.
  • Mileage earning and burning of other carriers across Air India: Lets say you are a frequent traveller on United, and now want to travel on Air India between Mumbai – Delhi or Delhi – Hong Kong or whatever other routes. You would now be able to use your United miles on Air India flights as per United’s award chart and routing rules.
  • Air India elites will now be Star Alliance Elites: Air India has 4 membership levels: Base, Silver, Gold and Platinum called Member, Silver Edge, Golden Edge and Maharajah Club. You cannot earn elite miles by doing anything else except flying Air India further and further at the moment. This should change to include *A carriers soon, and I expect that there will be a segment count kind of system as well, rather than just flown miles soon. Anyhow. AI Platinum & Gold members will be Star Alliance Gold level members soon, which allows them priority check-in, airport lounge access across 1000 lounges in the *A network, priority boarding, extra baggage allowance & priority baggage handling.
  • Star Alliance elites will be able to get better handling on Air India and use AI lounges: Taking the United example further, if you are a Premier 1K, you now get lounge access on your intra India flights on Air India as well across stations, and contract lounges where they don’t operate their own lounges.

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 7 Comments

My question seems to have been answered. Via the Mint newspaper, it seems like the CEO board of Star Alliance finally voted to receive Air India in their network, and Air India will be joining the network formally about 20 days from now: State-owned Air India Ltd will join the Star Alliance grouping on 11 […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 7 Comments

I guess there is not much suspense left in this one, but I am still not saying it is done till it is done. If you remember, one of the earliest posts on this blog was about Air India being jilted from the Star Alliance. Now, their is much begging, pleasing and a lot of […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 2 Comments

This has been the subject of discussion since 2007: the inclusion of Air India in Star Alliance. Like I discussed in December 2013, Air India had finally got its second invitation to be included in the Star Alliance, with the first one having been put on hold in July 2011. While it seems far fetched […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 2 Comments

It has been a nerve-wracking journey for Air India, but they finally made it. Okay, inspirational speech over. Now time for the real thing. Back in 2007, Air India was invited to join the Star Alliance, with Lufthansa sponsoring its entry. The Government of India practically dropped their pants to make concessions for Lufthansa group […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 4 Comments

This is just a news report at this moment, but it looks like Air India has grown tired of insisting upon Star Alliance to let them into their group, and is now using other tactics to try and get them to make up their mind. Air India’s application to join Star Alliance was put on […]

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Avianca, one of the latest airlines to join the Star Alliance, is offering a 100% bonus on buying miles for miles bought through August 30, 2013. They last offered a similar promotion in April. If you choose to buy miles through this promotion, you basically get to buy miles at 3 cents per mile, for […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 3 Comments

Air India seems to be making all the right moves while its competitor for the Star Alliance membership Jet Airways is busy trying to make a strategic alliance with Etihad. What I cannot figure out is, why was the Indian Civil Aviation ministry’s unnamed officials making all the noises about the conversations between 9W/EY before […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 6 Comments

A couple of months back I wrote about the cancellation of Turkish Airlines accounts, perhaps those which used services like AwardWallet to keep an updated balance. Turkish has been out there issuing a status match to Star Alliance Gold level status for everyone who has top-tier status with Star Alliance, OneWorld and Skyteam, something I […]

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