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This was kind of predictable. Having been taken over by SkyTeam carrier China Eastern Airlines, Shanghai Airlines will leave Star Alliance later this year and take up residence under that alliance's umbrella. So if you want to use your Star Alliance points to book a Shanghai Airlines flight, you've got until Halloween. Probably a little before that, if you want to be on the safe side.
Shanghai's departure won't really hurt Star Alliance as much as it will help SkyTeam. Star will still be be the largest of the three alliances, with 27 carriers that outright blanket the entire globe (minus, in fairness, Australia). It will still have the world's largest airline in United/Continental. In North America it will still have US Airways and in Europe it will still have Lufthansa. In Asia it will still have China Air, the continent's fifth largest airline and one that continues to grow aggressively. So Shanghai's defection isn't exactly going to be a devastating blow.
Airport sit-ins are the new asking for your money back, apparently, as the second one occurred within the span of days. While two separate, problem-plagued flights were affected by the passenger sit-ins, no doubt the most recent was influenced by the success of the first.
The first, occurring for a few days at the beginning of June, involved a triple-delayed China Eastern Airlines flights on its way from LAX to Shanghai. After the airline flew in a mechanic, the flight was finally able to leave, but not before the stranded folk staged a sit-in at LAX.
This weekend, the second occurred on the other end of the route back in Shanghai, when a Shanghai Airlines plane headed back to Shanghai, delaying the flight for 24 hours. When finally the plane landed in Taipei, Taiwan, the passengers refused to leave the jet until Taiwanese authorities "persuaded" them to do so, but not without the airline ponying up a 400RMB ($58) "we're sorry" bonus.
So it looks like sit-ins are here to stay; a viable option since airlines already have us on involuntary hunger strikes.
· Shanghai Airlines Passengers Stage Sit-in in Taiwan [Shanghaiist]
· Shanghai-Bound Passengers Stranded For Three Days at LAX [Jaunted]