Code-sharing can confuse even the most experienced traveler. If you encounter problems with your flight, it can also make the situation worse. As I’ve promised in my last post, here’s a heads-up of some of the problems you might encounter if you have code-shared flights.
Here are the problems usually associated with code-shared flights, and the best way to solve them:
• Passengers will have to check-in with a different airline. Even if you booked your flight with United, if your flight is operated by US Airways, you’d have to check-in with US Airways. It can be confusing, not to mention tiring, to have to run-around searching for the right terminal or gate. The best solution for this is to print your itinerary and bring all your flight details with you when you check-in. If the flight says “operated by…” then you’ll need to check in with that airline for that particular flight. Always verify with the ticket agent at the counter what airline you should check-in with for the connecting flight. That way, you’ll avoid the hassle of going to the wrong airline and possibly missing your flight.
• Greater chance of flight delays or schedule changes. In case of schedule changes, having two airlines make it harder to fix your flight schedule, especially if it’s the operating carrier, not the airline that sold you your ticket, that has the schedule change. There can be a lot of finger pointing and buck passing. Some airlines will even tell you to call the operating carrier, even if you bought your ticket with them. Just be firm but polite, and remind the airline agent that since you booked the ticket with them, it’s their responsibility to reaccomodate your flight, not the operating carrier’s.
• If their luggage gets delayed, lost or damaged, most travelers don’t know what airline should be responsible for it. The rule of thumb is, the last airline that you rode with is responsible for your luggage.
• I’ve heard of some cases where the airlines don’t have baggage transfer agreements, and the passenger would need to get their baggage from the 1st airline and recheck their baggage. Quite a lot of hassle, not to mention so time-consuming!
• You’d need a longer connecting time between your flights, since you’d most probably need to check-in to a different terminal. That translates to a longer flight and more exercise for you.
• Greater chance of missing your connecting flight. If you do miss your connecting flight because you weren’t able to arrive at the right terminal in time, the airline won’t be willing to take responsibility for it. So for code-shared flights, make sure you verify with the airline you book with the minimum connection time for your flights.
• Complications can also arise if you need to change your flight’s itinerary or your seat assignment. In most cases, you’ll need to contact the carrier that issued your ticket, even if it’s the other airline’s flight that you want to change.