Back in 2007 it was announced that Air India had intentions to join the Star Alliance, but for years nothing happened. Then in 2011 they stopped the process, because apparently Air India didn’t meet “Star Alliance standards” (shocker!). Via USA Today:
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.”
Anyway, at a board meeting yesterday in Vienna, the Star Alliance CEO announced that the Star Alliance member airlines “decided unanimously to recommence the integration process with Air India.” No timeline has been set yet, so for all we know it could be several more years.
Now personally I’m really excited about Air India joining Star Alliance, and I can’t wait to fly them. I know I’m perhaps crazy, but Air India as near the top of the list of airlines I want to try, because I’ve heard the onboard experience is one of a kind (I’ve done Jet Airways and enjoyed that, though based on what I’ve heard Air India is in a different league). I just hope that on my flight the pilots don’t trick the flight attendants into flying the plane while they take naps in business class.
Beyond that, though, I objectively think that any new airline member is an asset to an alliance based on the new routes they open up, and the added benefits you get when flying them.
So let’s hope their joining process this time is less dramatic than the previous aborted four year process.