Star Alliance, founded in 1997, is the world's largest airline alliance with 26 member companies serving more than 1,000 airports in 195 countries around the world. Member airlines include both international and regional airlines. You can get virtually anywhere in the world on airlines in Star Alliance.
To be a Star Alliance member, you simply need to enroll in the frequent flyer program of any one of the 26 participating airlines. If you belong to one airline, you can enjoy the benefits from the entire Alliance. Passengers who fly frequently can also obtain premier Gold or Silver status, giving them extra privileges during air travel.
Airlines in Star Alliance
The 26 member airlines include Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, SAS, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, THAI, Turkish Airlines, and United Airlines.
History and Growth of Star Alliance
The Star Alliance started on May 14, 1997, when a group of five airlines—United, Lufthansa, Air Canada, Scandinavian Airlines, and Thai Airways—came together to create a program that unified everything from flights to airport lounges to ticketing and check-in. Since then, it's grown to include a total of 26 airlines.
Initially, the five-member alliance operated under the five-star logo and the slogan "The Airline Network for Earth," but it updated that original messaging to its current iteration, "The Way the Earth Connects," and has kept the same logo throughout its history.
Still, the end goal of Star Alliance has always been to "take passengers to every major city on Earth," and so far it has succeeded in doing so by connecting its members to 1,300 airports around the world in 98 percent of the world's countries.
Although Star Alliance once maintained a membership of more than 30 companies, mergers and company collapses have reduced that number to its current number of 26.
Passengers aboard Star Alliance flights can enjoy two premium levels—Silver and Gold—of membership advantages, based on each individual customer's status in member airlines' frequent-flyer programs. These premium levels offer a variety of perks that are typically respected around the world with few exceptions.
Star Alliance Silver members must reach the premium level of a member airline's frequent-flyer program, but once they do they are rewarded with priority reservation wait-listing and faster service on airports' stand-by lists. Individual airlines in Star Alliance may also offer priority check-in and free baggage handling as well as preferred seating and priority boarding.
Loyal members who achieve the Star Alliance Gold status can expect even more premium treatment when traveling on member carriers. Airlines participating in this premium rewards program offer all of the same benefits as the Silver status in addition to granting customers access to exclusive Star Alliance Gold lounges, extra baggage allowances, fast track lines through airport security and immigration, and priority check-in and boarding. Additionally, Gold members are sometimes guaranteed spots on fully booked flights, offered special seating on member planes, or even upgraded free of charge.
Round the World Tickets
It's a traveler's dream to take a long trip around the world, stopping in various countries along the way and exploring previously unseen parts of the world. With the global span of Star Alliance flights, it's easier than ever.
Star Alliance offers a program called Round the World, letting passengers design their own multi-stop trip with 1,250 destinations to choose from, all with one ticket. The only requirements are that you have a minimum of two stops and a maximum of 15 and that you cross both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans one time each. Your trip can be as short as three days or stretch out over a year. Instead of booking several different flights, you book one roundtrip ticket that has several layovers of your choosing. For those who have the time and yearning for a trip of this magnitude, it's an affordable way to make it a reality.