Star Alliance Augments Mtg. Attendee Airfare Program
The Star Alliance, a network of 15 carriers including United Airlines, Lufthansa and Air Canada, recently enhanced its first global meetings program to include specifically designed global convention fares, as well as free upgrades and planner incentives.
The program, initially introduced in 2000 (Meetings Today, June 12, 2000), enables planners to coordinate attendee air travel across several countries and airlines through a single Star point of contact. "In May 2000, we branded an initial product that basically was made up of already existing features available from member airlines that were of benefit to the convention market," said Star Alliance vice president commercial Horst Findeisen. "Since then, the Star Alliance partners have been working on implementing enhancements to the product for both organizers and delegates. We are now in a position where we have developed convention-specific features, including global convention fares and a comprehensive program for supporting organizers prior to and during an event."
To qualify, however, events must include no less than 1,000 attendees traveling from at least three different countries and two continents, with no less than six months, and no more than three years, of lead time.
The product also features planner support and incentive programs that include support tickets, excess baggage and upgrade vouchers. Attendees will be able to earn frequent flyer miles.
Two other major international air alliances, the American Airlines and British Airways-led eight-member Oneworld alliance and the six-carrier SkyTeam, which includes Delta Air Lines and Air France, do not have alliancewide meeting products with global convention fares.
The Star Alliance's other 12 members are Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Austrian Airlines, British Midland, Lauda Air, Mexicana Airlines, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Tyrolean Airways and Varig Brazilian Airlines.