I was scheduled to fly Air India just 1 day before its Star Alliance (*A) membership went in to effect, thus depriving us of our *G privileges. Nonetheless, most of us are delighted about AIs entry to *A which allows seamless transfer of miles, lounge access, priority boarding, to name a few.
AI seems to have taken their entry seriously – knowing that memberships have been revoked in the past. Most of our 4-leg journey was as scheduled. But there’s still a long way to go. The food menu needs to be more internationalized and most importantly, legacy crew needs a mindset change. The crew on the international sector seemed more geared up than their domestic counterparts. While we’re expecting great service from the staff, its worth noting that not all of AI’s employee troubles have been resolved and this whole initiative could pack up without the staff’s cooperation.
AI is losing several crores per day due to its high OpEx. For instance, its staff per aircraft ratio is 2.5 times that of their European friends (ref. *A website). While AI could substantially benefit from the the alliance’s negotiated fuel & catering rates, there could be additional costs incurred in matching the group’s service levels – particularly in training.
Leaving all the concerns apart, its really a proud moment for every Indian to see their national airline join the leading airline alliance. It is also great to see new sectors added every quarter – cities in UK, Australia, Italy & now resuming Moscow. I wish them good luck in restoring the Maharajah’s pride!