Key partnerships have been the bedrock for travellers through the ages.
One in particular, between the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Star Alliance has looked at ensuring tech-enabled check-in and verification during multi-carrier journeys.
The two have announced the renewal their collaboration on traveller document verification to improve this part of the passenger experience for the alliance members’ some 775 million passengers.
Star Alliance and IATA, in a signing ceremony at IATA’s 75th Annual General Meeting in Seoul, agreed that IATA’s Timatic AutoCheck solution will continue to power Automated Document Check (ADC) for Star Alliance member carriers.
Jeffrey Goh, CEO Star Alliance says IATA Timatic AutoCheck enables Star Alliance customers checking-in at the airport counter or online to verify that their travel documents are valid and complete for the whole journey, including any transit point before travel begins.
This he states delivers several significant benefits:
- Preventing the embarrassing and distressing situation for passengers of being denied entry to a country on arrival owing to missing or invalid documents, and
- Enabling a seamless experience when travel encompasses multiple carriers. Passengers will no longer need to see an agent to have their travel documents checked and rechecked at transit points, and
- Avoiding the passenger fine to airlines for transporting inadmissible passengers
“Digital transformation is essential to meeting evolving passenger expectations today and into the future. Star’s selection of Timatic will give its customers a better experience,” says Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.
What you need to know about Star Alliance
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The biggest airline alliance – and the first global alliance - is Star Alliance, to which our very own South African Airways (SAA) is a member.
Based in Germany, the Alliance network claims to provide “a range of benefits for the international traveller to improve their travel experience, wherever they are in the world”.
Established in 1997 by five airlines - Air Canada, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Thai and United Airlines - Star Alliance now boasts 28 member airlines. It also has connecting partners that allow airlines to link to Star Alliance without becoming a member. According to Star Alliance, these partners have commercial links with "three or more member airlines, but not with all 28 members”.
How does Star Alliance make the travel experience smoother?
Star Alliance members work together to provide hassle-free connections globally, including “co-locations” at airports, as well as having infrastructure, communications and other services in place to improve the flyers’ travel experiences.
Co-Location at airports: At selected airports member airlines share common ticketing and check-in counters as well as lounges, baggage facilities and other services.
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Connection centres: At connection centres real-time passenger and baggage information for arriving flights are tracked to ensure that the flyer and their baggage make the flight. According to Star Alliance, this service is available at top hub airports across the globe.
Members and Connecting Partners
Star Alliance members include some of the world’s largest airlines, as well as smaller aviation companies. It describes its members as each having “its own distinctive culture and style of service”.
The members of Star Alliance are: Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India , Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Avianca, Avianca in Brazil, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Egyptair, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP, Thai Airways International, Turkish Airlines and United.
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Connecting partners include, mainly, a regional or low-cost airline. These partners may also be subsidiaries of a member airline or completely separate entities.
Connecting partners also offer separate privileges of flying with them through specific packages.
Frequent flyers get rewarded
If you frequently fly with airlines that are members of Star Alliance, you will gain points or miles that can be redeemed for a reward. To benefit from this, you need to join the frequent flyer programme of that particular Star Alliance member carrier.
In South Africa, SAA’s reward programme is called Voyager. To register to for Voyager and gain points every time you fly with SAA, click here. See the complete list of Star Alliance’s member airlines rewards programmes here.
According to Star Alliance, you can join multiple member airline programmes but they are each managed separately by its respective airline, therefore preventing you from transferring or combining miles or points.
“Using a single programme whenever you fly means you can earn privileges and reach Star Alliance Silver or Gold status faster,” says Star Alliance.
SEE: Star Alliance adds free Heathrow Express upgrades for gold members
By showing loyalty to Star Alliance member airlines, flyers can attain Silver or Gold Status and earn additional benefits, which will be available on any of the Star Alliance member airlines.
Star Alliance Gold and Silver Status customers also receive special privileges in line with the offerings of some connecting partners, when they fly on an itinerary involving at least one member carrier and the connecting partner.
In addition to this, Star Alliance has enhanced its Round the World (RTW) fare product. Previously, travellers were required to select a minimum of three stopovers, but can now stop at only two destinations for at least 24 hours. This change increases the number of itineraries available under the RTW product for travel on the Star Alliance network.
Star Alliance RTW tickets can booked online here. RTW fares are generally an attractive value for money proposition, especially when compared to individual one-way tickets on separate airlines for the same journey. The total price of an RTW ticket is dependent on class of travel, the precise itinerary, mileage and routing selected, as well as currency exchange rate fluctuations. Customers can also choose from a range of themed RTW journeys. Click here for full details.
For more information about Star Alliance’s rewards, click here