Star Alliance has launched its growing Connection Service initiative at Heathrow, the seventh airport to offer the service.
Dedicated staff will use software to monitor transfer windows for customers with connecting services, and take action “to ensure the customer reaches their onward flight”.
The software highlights where passengers and checked bags are in danger of missing a connection, and allows staff “to consider the various options available to ensure the customer reaches their onward flight, the most common of which is to arrange for the customer to be personally escorted between their arriving and departing gates”.
Agents can also take the decision to book delayed customers onto alternative travel options before the inbound flight lands.
The new service adds to the alliance’s improved transfer experience at its Heathrow T2 hub, which was launched in 2017 and allows passengers whose flights arrive and depart at T2B, to pass through security within the same concourse, rather than having to visit T2A and then return.
The Star Alliance Connection Service launched at Chicago O’Hare in 2017, and has subsequently rolled out to airports including Frankfurt, Houston, Munich, Newark and Toronto.
An expedited baggage-only service is also available at Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington.
Star Alliance said that Heathrow is the 12th largest transfer hub for the alliance worldwide, with over 430,000 interline transfer passengers connecting each year. A total of 25 Star Alliance member carriers serve Heathrow.
Commenting on the news Julie Murphy, chair of the Country Steering Council of Star Alliance member carriers in the UK, said:
“This year, we are marking five years of serving our customers at Heathrow’s state-of-the-art Terminal 2. We understand just how important it is for our customers to make their connection on time.
“By introducing the Connection Service to London Heathrow, we aim to further improve our customers’ journeys, allowing them to connect from one Star Alliance airline to another, knowing their transfer is being taken care of.”
Note that although Flybe has interline agreements with several Star Alliance members including Singapore Airlines and United, it cannot participate in the new Connection Service.
Why? Simply because it is not a member of Star Alliance. So Flybe customers will have to interline (with Star Alliance carriers) in the normal way.
Star Alliance told Business Traveller “The Connection Service is a Star Alliance product and is available only for Star to Star carriers.”