Simon, one of our readers, sent in his question about which product he should try once Air India enters Star Alliance (which seems to be really happening this time). Air India is slated to become an alliance partner by July 3rd.
Air India has a rather newish, updated business class seat on their 787 and 777-300ER planes.
They go to these cities:
– 787 to Sydney, Melbourne and London
– 777-300ER to Chicago, New York and Newark
The product fetches good reviews based on the seat (lie flat but not angled and with no foot cubby) but only average reviews for food and the poor handling on the ground.
India is usually rather expensive using miles as it's the most costly region in most award charts. Some remaining sweet spots after devaluation on Star Alliance partner award charts are the 130,000 Lifemiles New York to Delhi return in Business Class on no fuel surcharges. United MileagePlus charges 160,000 miles for the same flight combination using Star Alliance partners.
It's not yet clear how award availability to partners will look. The business class product looks decent but it is certainly no 'must try' product. However, having a connection from other Star Alliance partners into India is a great addition.