I have been a loyal United Airlines and Star Alliance customer for many, many years. This year I am a Premier Executive/Star Alliance Gold and have already achieved that status for next year having been travelling quite a bit.
My previous experience on Star Alliance has been largely flying Lufthansa in Europe – and I’ve always been treated quite warmly by them (great seats, preferences always acknowledged) and been able to use their Senator’s Club lounges. Ditto for flying US Airways around the East Coast of the United States.
This trip I booked directly on Air Canada – which was a first. I have been re-routed due to cancellations on Air Canadal, but never booked directly. I discovered a nasty surprise – my Star Alliance Gold privileges are essentially meaningless when it comes to seating preferences – only their Aeroplan Elite/Super Elite get the good seats. I ended up in the last row of the plane – and was to have a middle seat except that the ticketing agent was kind enough to take pity upon me.
This is really unfortunate that privileges do not transcend airline boundaries within Star Alliance – at least in this case. (Apparently United is similar with issuing Economy Plus seats to other Star Alliance Gold flyers that are not on Mileage Plus.) If they were to truly get this right, the privileges would be recognized across. Period. And that’s my travel rant for this trip…