Thai Smile Airways, the regional low-cost subsidiary of Thai Airways, has joined Star Alliance as its second Connecting Partner.

Star Alliance first introduced the Connecting Partner model in May 2017, allowing airlines to connect to the Star Alliance network without becoming a member airline of the Alliance.

Passengers travelling on any itinerary, which includes a transfer between certain Star Alliance member airlines and Thai Smile on a single booking, will enjoy privileges such as having their baggage delivered through to the final destination.

Passengers holding Star Alliance Silver and Gold status in any Star Alliance member airline’s frequent flyer programme will also be offered a “tailored subset” of privileges during such eligible connecting travel.

Currently, these privileges are available on eligible connections between Thai Smile Airways and Austrian, Lufthansa, Swiss and the airline’s parent company Thai Airways, which has been a Star Alliance member airline since 1997.

According to Thai Smile Airways, members of Thai Airways’ frequent flyer programme Royal Orchid Plus, as well as members of Miles and More – the frequent flyer programme of Austrian, Lufthansa and Swiss – may also accrue and redeem miles on flights operated by Thai Smile Airways.

Bangkok-based Thai Smile Airways currently offers over 396 weekly flights to 32 destinations in nine countries and regions with a fleet of 20 narrow-body aircraft. Now as a Star Alliance Connecting Partner, the airline will extend the alliance’s network by ten new destinations. Star Alliance said this collaboration with Thai Smile is the first of its kind in Thailand.

“Our Connecting Partner model was introduced three years ago to offer airlines an attractive way to connect to our global alliance network without requiring full membership, and we are continuing to expand the model to provide customers with more travel options,” said Jeffrey Goh, CEO of Star Alliance.

Charita Leelayudth, CEO of Thai Smile Airways, said: “We are committed to delivering exceptional travel experiences to new generations of travellers at affordable prices with seamless connections to our parent company Thai Airways International (Thai), a Star Alliance member. Our focus remains on strengthening Thai’s route network for the highest cost-efficiency and competitiveness.”

Shanghai-based Chinese carrier Juneyao Airlines was the first airline to become a Star Alliance Connecting Partner in May 2017. /