Star Alliance plans Gold Track priority airport immigration lanes

Star Alliance plans Gold Track priority airport immigration lanes

Business and first class passengers along with top-tier frequent flyers on Star Alliance airlines will enjoy VIP treatment at the immigration desks of selected airports from next year.

The new Gold Track Immigration program will complement the existing Gold Track security lanes (below) already established at the hubs of many Star Alliance member airlines – a 28-strong roster which includes Air New Zealand, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Thai and United.

"We are in conversation with a number of airports around the world where the immigration authorities do contemplate the possibility of offering priority services to premium customers" Star Alliance CEO Mark Schwab told Australian Business Traveller on the sidelines of the consortium's six-monthly meeting in Chicago.

"We've done a worldwide inventory of where those possibilities exist at key (member airline) hubs," Schwab added, "and the conversations we're having at these locations are progressing quite well."

Schwab predicts the first Gold Track Immigration lanes will open "at the end of Q1 or the beginning of Q2 next year".

Although premium passengers can check-in for their flight at priority desks and can typically breeze through express security lanes, immigration checkpoints often become chokepoints where every traveller – regardless of ticket type or frequent flyer status – is herded into the same snaking queue.

That's something which Schwab wants to change, although he realises this won't always be possible.

All flyers are created equal..?

"Many governments think of this as an egalitarian process where they treat everybody the same no matter what class they're flying in, so the immigration authorities prefer not to offer premium services," Schwab admits.

"But you can imagine that for busy business travellers, the opportunity of whizzing through immigration is highly attractive."

Different countries also have different approaches to streamlining immigration, ranging from handing out 'express path' cards to registration programs for frequent travellers.

This will make for a far slower roll-out compared to Gold Track security, "but whatever can be done to speed your way through the entire airport process is really important," Schwab stressed.

Also read:  How to get a free Star Alliance Gold frequent flyer status match

The writer travelled to Chicago as a guest of Star Alliance

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

12 comments

  • banker

    banker

    18 Dec, 2015 11:45 am

    Hi David,

    link at the end of the article points to status match that was only until 30 Nov. Is there any other status match to Gold currently in progress? I would need to organise one for my partner.

    Thanks for help.

    No member give thanks

  • domesticgoddess

    domesticgoddess

    18 Dec, 2015 11:53 am

    Turkish Airlines.

    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    18 Dec, 2015 12:03 pm

    Hi banker, our apologies – we've updated the link to our earlier article which covers status matching with Star Alliance member Turkish Airlines, rather than the recent deal with Avianca Brazil which as you've rightly pointed out is no longer available. Note that for a status match with Turkish Airlines you'll need Oneworld Emerald or SkyTeam Elite Plus status with another airline (if you don't already have Star Alliance Gold).

    No member give thanks

  • banker

    banker

    18 Dec, 2015 12:53 pm

    Thank you to both of you for info.

    No member give thanks

  • eminere

    eminere

    18 Dec, 2015 11:53 am

    Would be good to know which airports they're looking to implement this.

    No member give thanks

  • Ho Really

    Ho Really

    18 Dec, 2015 12:54 pm

    Those airports that have the Gold Track security lanes already in place will probably be first off the block. The only one I've been to in the last 6 months was ATH that had this. A few weeks ago I was at Changi and didn't notice any. Maybe because there was no lines anywhere and I breezed through or I had tunnel vision. Anyhow you'd think it will be all the major hubs (AKL, SIN, ICN, SFO, FRA etc...) and three or four months is not a long wait to know.

    Cheers

    No member give thanks

  • David Flynn

    David

    18 Dec, 2015 07:31 pm

    And if Mark Schwab had mentioned which airports they were looking at, you'd have read it in the aricle. But he didn't reveal which airports were on the list.

    No member give thanks

  • eminere

    eminere

    18 Dec, 2015 09:17 pm

    Is that b!tchy tone really necessary to an honest question? A simple no would suffice really.

    No member give thanks

  • BeijingBogan

    BeijingBogan

    18 Dec, 2015 01:12 pm

    I'd like to think the place where Gold Track Immigration would be handiest would the one place they'll most likely not permit it..... the USA :( 

    No member give thanks

  • Jack

    jackthomas

    18 Dec, 2015 05:11 pm

    Is MEL an official Gold Track airport? I've always received an Express Pass flying Business on Star Alliance airlines, but hoping I'll also get them when flying economy out of MEL as a *A Gold...

    No member give thanks

  • Koru17

    Koru17

    18 Dec, 2015 06:45 pm

    No, MEL is not an official 'Gold Track Airport', instead there is just the blanket 'Express Path’ for all airlines/alliances.

    My experience is that Air NZ usually gives Business/Gold/Elite’s an express pass. However that is perhaps due to the fact there are less premium passengers compared to QF and other *A. Although it doesn't usually hurt to ask for one at check in.

    No member give thanks

  • Jack

    jackthomas

    21 Dec, 2015 07:40 pm

    I usually fly J on Air NZ, so as a gold not sure for which reason I'd gotten the pass.

    However the Star Alliance website does list MEL as a Gold Track airport, it does not mention SYD.

    No member give thanks

Guest

17 Jul, 2019 05:10 am

×
×

Forgot Password

If you’ve forgotten your password, simply enter your email address below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email to re-activate your account and enter a new password.

×

Resend activation email

If you have not received the activation email, simply enter your email address below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email containing the activation link.

×