My sister has just talked my ear off about a recent trip she had. She booked her flight on the internet, and wasn’t aware that she had booked code-shared flights. She almost missed her connecting flight because she assumed she just needed to check-in with her original carrier. Fortunately, she was able to work out the flight’s itinerary in time
If you’re traveling on connecting flights, especially in the domestic U.S., chances are you’re on code-shared flights. Code-shared flights are flights operated by one airline but marketed as a flight of another airline. Code sharing is a practice that allows airlines to offer passengers service to destinations not in their normal route structure. If you’re booking a flight that can’t flown by one single airline, then code-sharing is a good choice compared to booking two separate flights. Code-sharing will offer a single ticket for multiple flights. It also makes for better coordination between connecting flights, takes the hassle off baggage transfers, and if you’re a frequent flier with one airline, will allow you to collect frequent-flier credits.
But that’s not to say that code-share doesn’t have its problems. Code-sharing can be confusing even to seasoned travelers, and have reaped their share of criticisms. Disgruntled travelers claim that code-sharing can be confusing, misleading and present more problems than advantages. Unfortunately, booking directly with the airline doesn’t guarantee that your flights won’t be code-shared. Even if you go on an airline’s website, some of the flights you’ll see are code-shared, but you might not notice it as such. If you want to decipher them, here are the clues to code-shared flights:
• Flight numbers are usually four digits
• There’s an asterisk sign before the flight details
• Underneath the flight number, it says “operated by …”
Like any situation, it’s always best to be prepared. If you have electronic tickets, be sure to print it out and bring your itinerary with you when you check-in. Next post, I’ll give you more details about the problems associated with code-shared flights and the best way to solve them.