STAR Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh has affirmed the network’s strong focus on improving the customer journey, with significant investments in technology to further bolster the global airline group’s offering to members and its customers.
Speaking to travelBulletin last month during a brief visit to Australia, Goh noted that while the door was still open to potential new Star Alliance members, the consolidation of the global aviation sector and the current scale of the 27 member-strong alliance meant the best way to add value was to lead the way in connectivity to make the travel experience seamless, particularly for high-value frequent flyers who regularly transit between Star Alliance members.
The vision is to empower travellers to access the information they need easily, wherever and whenever they require it, and in the form they desire. So rather than requiring road warriors to utilise a Star Alliance smartphone app, or to access the individual websites of the airlines they happen to be travelling on, the Alliance is instead facilitating connectivity behind the scenes.
That means, for example, that a Singapore Airlines customer can use the SQ app to check the availability of frequent flyer redemption seats across any Star Alliance route, and use their SQ miles to make a booking. The Star Alliance Baggage Hub is available for member airlines to provide the ability to track baggage on any Star interline itinerary, while Goh confirmed later this year the Alliance is expected to roll out the first implementation of a shared biometric data storage facility, meaning travellers will be able to seamlessly check in, access lounges and board flights without needing to re-register or present any credentials.
The Alliance also has a strong focus on transits between member carriers. A successful trial last year at London Heathrow Airport demonstrated the viability of a new system which automatically pushes a VIP “coupon” to travellers with tight connections, allowing them to bypass immigration and security queues and ensure they don’t miss their next flight. Goh said that was just the start, with the system expected to be implemented at several airports in the coming years.