All about the Star Alliance

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While some call it a marriage of convenience, it’s no doubt the Star Alliance has made a huge and mostly positive impact on the way we fly. Serving an estimated 649 million passengers every year, the Star Alliance is the world’s largest commercial airline consortium, and while its members fly to more destinations than any other airline alliance in the world, you’re probably wondering what it all means. How does this much spoken about alliance benefit you? Does it only help you if you’re a frequent flyer? Find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the Star Alliance network below.

The Star Alliance is the leading global airline network, with the highest number of member airlines, daily flights, and destinations. Established in 1997, the Star Alliance was the first truly global airline network of its kind to offer customers convenient worldwide reach and a smoother travel experience.

A total of 27 airlines belong to the Star Alliance (July 2012) including our very own SAA. SAA has been a member of the Star Alliance since 2006.

United Airlines, Lufthansa, Air Canada, Thai Airways International and SAS (Scandinavia) formed the Star Alliance on 14 May 1997.

In 2006, SAA became the first airline from the African continent to join the alliance.

Their large network means the Star Alliance can benefit travellers through various schemes. For example, the Round the World fare helps you if you want to travel globally affording you flexibility when planning your route.

Circle Fares provide a flexible and affordable way to see Asia and the Pacific regions.

Other Star Alliance benefits include:

  • In some instances, cheaper flights because of lower operational costs on a certain route
  • More departure times to choose from
  • More destinations within easy reach and shorter travel time as a result of optimized transfers
  • Access to more than 990 airport lounges worldwide (usually shared by alliance members)
  • Ability to increase air miles at a quicker rate. Passengers can earn air miles for a single account on several different carriers
  • Passengers can be ticketed (on one ticket) to destinations far beyond the reaches of a single carrier’s own network
  • Single luggage check-in for entire journey
  • Priority check in for Star Alliance Gold members
  • Priority waitlist for Gold and Silver members
  • Priority airport standby
  • Star Alliance Gold members are entitled to priority baggage service across the network

In some cases, competition between airlines on a certain route will decrease as member airlines take over. This can result in higher airline ticket prices because of the monopoly.

Even more concerning to the consumer is the fact that when you book flights on Star Alliance airlines you might think you’ve picked your favourite airline, but in reality you may wind up flying on a less desirable member airline.

As South Africa’s number one online travel agency, we offer flights from all Star Alliance airlines. Use the Travelstart flight search to compare airline ticket prices in one place then book and pay online quickly, cheaply and securely.

Book Star Alliance flights in South Africa now.

Yes. You can accumulate air miles and redeem them on any one of the 27 Star Alliance member airlines’ loyalty programmes. However, it is recommended to join the loyalty programme of the member airline you’re likely to fly with most often.

It’s not as easy as you might think for an airline to join this exclusive club. From the Star Alliance side, aspiring member airlines must comply with the highest industry standards of customer service, security and technical infrastructure.

Sometimes, an airlines membership approval may be vetoed by the laws and regulations of a certain country. For example, a “national carrier” might not actually own the landing rights to the country in which it operates. This scenario often happens in the case of a merger (opposed by the government), whereby the national carrier loses its national identity by merging with a foreign company.

Yes. Star Alliance is the largest of the three major airline alliances you need to know about. In second place are SkyTeam with 17 members and OneWorld currently having 12 members.

It has been reported that the three major airline alliance consortiums carry two-thirds of all airline passengers.

Headquarters are located near the airport in Frankfurt, Germany and are headed up by CEO Mark Schwab. The Star Alliance slogan is The way the Earth connects.

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