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.

  1. December 14th, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    RakSiam said,

    Did they vote to boot SQ at the same time? :-)

  2. December 14th, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Neal Z. said,

    I flew Air India from JFK-LHR in 1985. It was and still is the single worst flight experience I’ve ever had. This announcement doesn’t excite me. It terrifies me!

  3. December 14th, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    choi said,

    no aspiration here either

  4. December 14th, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Teja said,

    Where is the trip report for your jet airways flight?

  5. December 14th, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    ffi said,

    To imagine that when SQ started, they used Air India as a role model!
    Shocking but true – it was different till 1975.
    Private AI under Tata was quite different from AI under Indian Govt

  6. December 14th, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Stephan said,

    You’ve got to be kidding? Count me out too – 9W and AI are two entirely different propositions altogether. Yikes!

    BTW It seems like all the alliances are fading a bit..

  7. December 14th, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Jorge said,

    No, thanks !

  8. December 14th, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Glenn said,

    @Stephan – not sure I necessarily agree with that. OW seems to be on a bit of an upswing lately while I think *A is declining. And I never really pay any attention to SkyTeam so I don’t know what they’re doing..

  9. December 14th, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    MT said,

    The previous abort had nothing to do with AI not being ready. It was because Lufthansa and the Govt of India (Aviation Authority) could not come to terms. I presume this has been sorted out or Lufthansa has conceded (they haven’t been given any of the additional slots they had requested).

  10. December 14th, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Sean M. said,

    @MT – Lufthansa and Star Alliance have essentially conceded. Now that Jet Airways’s equity sale to Etihad has concluded, the only real option for *A in India is Air India. So they had to swallow their pride and invite them back in.

  11. December 14th, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Jay said,

    My parents recently took a trip from India to NY in Business on AI and looking at the pictures and hearing about the service, I was pleasantly surprised. Great news of this happens quickly.

  12. December 15th, 2013 at 12:07 am

    saikia said,

    the stories of horrifying service are overrated. its true that the domestic flight meal standard has fallen and the 320s are showing their tiredness but dreamliners are pumping back life and finances are getting better. what better specimen you need to prove this other tan invitation by *a itself

  13. December 15th, 2013 at 2:06 am

    Amol said,

    Friends of mine recently flew in AI Y and said it was the best experience they’d had flying to India nonstop (rated it above UA J service-wise). I thought they were lying, but I saw how much space they had in Y and the food served, and made me curious what F/J get.

    I’d love to check out AI F/J to India … I’ve always flown other carriers from the US to India, like LH/BA/AF/DL/UA/CX/SQ/JL over the years.

  14. December 15th, 2013 at 2:28 am

    Juno said,

    I flew Air India a few times in the 80s and 90s. They are the benchmark…for the absolute worst airline around. Horrible airline (at least back then).

  15. December 15th, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Varun said,

    They’ve improved under the new management. I had a reasonably good experience lately.

  16. December 15th, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Hitesh said,

    Lucky,

    I flew Air India a couple of years back. Their ground services are abysmal, their IT system is worse than Delta’s, and they’re expensive. However, service on-board is one of the best I’ve seen! And I’ve seen the days of SwissAir handing out chocolate boxes and miniature airplanes in Biz (before the bankruptcy). AI matched up to any European airline in terms of on-board service.

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