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Star Alliance celebrates 20 years; you have a chance to become a mileage millionaire

Star Alliance returned to Frankfurt, the place of its birth, to celebrate 20 years of “Connecting People and Cultures”. The Alliance’s Chief Executive Board, comprising the CEOs of all 28 member airlines, will hold its summer board meeting in Frankfurt today (May 14), during which the CEOs will be briefed on the progress of the Alliance’s current business plan and future strategy.

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The meeting falls exactly 20 years to the day when its founder members – Air Canada, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, THAI and United – first stunned the aviation industry with the announcement that they would come together to form the world`s first global aviation alliance.

The Alliance enters its third decade with a strong and comprehensive network serving over 1,300 destinations in 191 countries. Connectivity continues to expand by member carriers launching new routes and increasing frequencies, while network reach will grow through the addition of local and regional airlines through the Connecting Partner concept.

Against this background, the Alliance’s clear strategic focus has shifted from network expansion, to providing a seamless experience especially to the over 14 million annual customers who connect between member carriers on their journeys. Going forward, digital technologies will lie at the heart of this strategy.

The IT hub infrastructure, which the Alliance has put in place in recent years, has allowed for the better integration of back-end services between the member airlines. With this now in place, we can start building and offering digital applications. The new IT hub infrastructure has already enabled the Alliance to, for example, improve the reliability of such processes as through-check in for multi-carrier itineraries or ensuring fast crediting of accrued frequent flyer miles into the correct customer account.

In another Alliance first, in the unlikely case of missing miles, members in any Star Alliance frequent flyer programme (FFP) can now claim these online, through their own FFP website, even when the miles were collected on another Star Alliance member carrier flight.

The baggage hub, the most recent IT hub project, went live at the end of 2016, and facilitates baggage message transfer between the member airlines, their ground handlers and the baggage handling systems at the airports. Today it processes on average five million baggage messages a day. This allows the airlines to better steer baggage operations and to keep customers informed on the status of their bag. Once implemented across the entire network, it will become easier to give customers proactive updates on their baggage delivery status.

Using the existing IT Hub, Star Alliance has now introduced a new functionality which allows front line employees to better assist customers in case of irregularities. Should their feeder flight be delayed, the connecting boarding pass information can now be access by the airline operating the feeder flight, thus enabling a faster and simpler rebooking process. Up to now, such transactions at times still required calling the other airline involved.

To support the implementation of the new strategy, Star Alliance has restructured its Frankfurt-based headquarters operation and reorganised the Alliance’s management team, which now is made up of:.

As part of its customer interaction for its 20th Anniversary, Star Alliance will be running a global competition, inspired by the theme of “Connecting People and Cultures”, which will offer winners the chance to become a mileage millionaire. Each of the Alliance’s 21 FFPs is offering one million miles (or equivalent) to one competition winner.

Entrants are asked to upload a picture of themselves and to share a cultural experience they enjoyed at The cultural experiences will be shown on an interactive world map. The competition runs from May 14th to July 31st, 2017.

The Star Alliance FFPs are also providing some inspiration on what can be done with a million miles and are presenting some unique travel experiences at

In support of the 20th anniversary campaign, each of the 28 Star Alliance member carriers has come up with their own local cultural experience idea. The five founding carriers, Air Canada, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, THAI and United, have gone one step further by challenging National Geographic’s Travel Nomad, Robert Reid, to test their recommendations personally and report back to travellers on his experience.

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