The Connection Service springs into action if an incoming flight is delayed. Software monitors the transfer window for customers with an onward flight and flags any cases where a customer and any checked bags appear in danger of missing a connection.
“It is frustrating for customers, and indeed for the airlines, when relatively small delays have the knock-on effect that a connection is missed,” said Star Alliance VP Customer Experience Christian Draeger. “Connection Service staff are alerted as soon as a connection is at risk. They meet the customer on arrival and take the necessary steps to ensure that the customer and the bags are expedited and reach their onward flight. If a connection cannot be reached, the customer is assisted with re-booking.”
Chicago is the fourth biggest transfer hub for Star Alliance worldwide, with almost 750,000 passengers connecting from one Star Alliance carrier to another each year.
“The Connection Service provides peace of mind to customers with a tight connection,” said Mike Hanna, Vice President of United’s O’Hare operations. “This is a significant benefit for our customers, further strengthening the position of Chicago as a leading transfer hub.”
Customers arriving on international flights need to clear customs and immigration before connecting. Those customers benefiting from the Connection Service are eligible to use the Express Connection lane, to enable them to get through customs and immigration quicker. Checked bags that need to be rechecked are specially tagged so they are handled faster.
Star Alliance members online at O’Hare are: Air Canada, Air India, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Copa Airlines, EVA Air, Lufthansa, LOT Polish Airlines, SWISS, Scandinavian Airlines, Turkish Airlines and United. Together they offer almost 17,500 flights per week to 187 destinations in 31 countries.
Star Alliance Connection Centres have been operating behind the scenes for more than a decade, expediting checked bags at risk of missing their onward flight at 11 airports. Under the Alliance’s strategy of further improving the customer experience, enhancing this service to include assisting passengers with tight connections is being evaluated in all locations. A passenger service is already available in Frankfurt (FRA), Houston (IAH) and Munich (MUC) as part of the Connection Centre product.