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Why lying is wrong — even when an airline does it

To the airline apologists who rushed to the defense of an industry that lies by pretending other companies’ products are its own — a clever trick called “codesharing” — I have just one thing to say: meet Lisa Waters.

She had booked a roundtrip flight on American Airlines from New York to London. At least that’s what she thought.

Turns out the flight was operated by American’s codeshare partner, British Airways. Waters claims she paid $120 for “preferred” seats, which on the AA.com site, looked pretty decent.

“Then we got on the plane,” she says. “These preferred seats were behind the wall of a toilet. So for nine long hours we heard flushing, door opening and closing, people standing in line to get to the one of only two bathrooms in coach. I could not even sleep.”

On the American Airlines website, it didn’t note the toilets. But on the British Airways site, she says, they were clearly highlighted, and she would have never paid extra for the seats.

That’s one of the many perils of airline codesharing, which I called bald-faced lie in my last column. Many of you disagreed, saying codesharing allowed you to fly to more destinations, collect more award miles, and get better service.

Each of those arguments is provably wrong.

But before I get to that proof, let me tell you what happened to Waters when she complained. She figured that since some of the “benefits” of the AA preferred seat gotten lost in translation, the airline would be eager to refund the $120 she’d paid.

She sent a brief, cordial email to the airline.

“While many customers have found this service to be a convenient option, we know that each of our customers value different parts of the overall travel experience, and all of our Your Choice travel services are optional,” it replied. “This allows us to keep our fares low, while offering the individual products and services that our customers value.”

American refused to refund the fee.

“I feel deceived,” she said.

The codeshare confusion she describes is fairly minor in the grand scheme of things. In fact, Waters may have simply misunderstood the preferred seating option on her airline’s site. (I found it difficult to duplicate her problem online, but even so, she shouldn’t have been so easily confused, at least the way she describes it.)

It gets more interesting when baggage is lost and codeshare partners start to play the blame game, referring the complaint to each other until the passengers gives up in disgust. It’s also problematic when each airline “partner” has different luggage allowances or ticket rules, and chooses to apply them to its own advantage.

It’s relatively easy to get lost in a “no-man’s land” between codeshare partners, where no airlines are willing to take responsibility for anything. (Think I’m kidding? I’m handling a nightmare case right now involving three codeshare partners and a missing refund. No one is willing to pay up. Talk about a wild goose chase.)

Before I end my rant on the evils of codesharing, let me address a few of the myths that I found in the comments of my previous story on the subject.

Myth: Codesharing gives you access to more destinations.

Fact: No it doesn’t. The airline you’re booking a ticket with is still flying to the same number of cities. Its codeshare “partners” are serving the rest and allowing your airline to claim those destinations as its own. That is a lie.

Myth: Codesharing allows you to collect and redeem more award miles.

Fact: Oh really? Try redeeming your hard-earned frequent flier points for a flight and tell me how that goes. Unless you’re super-flexible or have an encyclopedic knowledge of programs and codeshare partnerships, you’re going to feel like a sucker for having bought that argument. It’s worthless scrip.

Myth: Codesharing improves service.

Fact: No it doesn’t. Codesharing allows your airline to offer substandard service and blame a partner airline for its own incompetence.

Bottom line: Lying is wrong, even when airlines do it, and even when they say it’s for the good of their passengers.

Especially when they say it’s for the good of their passengers.

Because see, when governments allows airlines to lie … er, I mean, codeshare, they do something else that passengers hardly notice: They stop competing. Less competition means higher fares, and the only ones who benefit from higher fares are the airlines.

Think about that the next time you book a flight that’s “operated by” a different airline.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • Allison

    You cannot buy preferred seating through AA on a BA operated flight (which is clearly marked as BA operated when you make the reservation). AA also does not even have seat maps for BA planes. This story makes no sense. Also, NY to London is only about 6 hours.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CarverFarrow Carver Clark Farrow

    Chris claims that code sharing does not increase the number of destinations. A bold and daring assertion. Let’s put that assertion to the test.

    Consider: A US carrier cannot fly between two non-US points. Without codesharing, international travel on a US airline is limited to the nonstop distance that said US carrier can fly from coastal US gateway cities, e.g. New York, San Francisco/Los Angeles, Miami, etc.
    Every city in the world that is beyond the nonstop limit is a city that a US airline cannot service without code share arrangements.
    Thus, the claim that additional destinations are not created by code share arrangement is easily refuted.

  • http://flyicarusfly.com/ Fly, Icarus, Fly

    Personally, I don’t mind codesharing. I’m not a fussy flyer and yes, I have been able to claim lots of free flights, including to Africa (twice!) and Nepal. But I can see where the OP would’ve been peeved if the airplane map she was looking at didn’t end up being the plane she flew on. Was this a codesharing problem? or a passenger looking on the wrong site? That’s the crux.

  • Michelle C

    I don’t think this complaint has much merit. The American Airlines website CLEARLY states who operates the flight so
    she should have known it would have been operated BA. I don’t remember
    being able to select seats like I normally would when I bought Alaska Airline tickets on American’s website. I’m curious to know what perks she thought she was getting in a $120 “preferred” seats. Seems like most of the time they are just closer to
    the front of the plane, near the bathroom.

    First, code sharing has been beneficial to me. Bought 25K mile, one way, first class tickets from Anchorage to Las Vegas on AA . com but the flight was operated by Alaska Airlines. . Flight left at 3 pm, and had a 2 hr layover in Seattle. No crazy flight times there but AA freq flyer miles are hit or miss with times and layovers.

  • Raven_Altosk

    My solution: dissolve cabotage laws. I’d love to fly Cathay Pacific domenstically…wouldn’t you?

    (I am not responsible for spelling before 5AM)

  • Raven_Altosk

    Eh, I don’t have much of a problem with codeshares.

    Has this woman not heard of seatguru.com? I mean…c’mon. Use some Google Fu.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CarverFarrow Carver Clark Farrow

    Yeah. I did a domestic code share and I couldn’t see a seat map for Alaska.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CarverFarrow Carver Clark Farrow

    Ditto. But until then….

  • http://www.facebook.com/CarverFarrow Carver Clark Farrow

    Perhaps the OP would have been happier if she sat next to the toilet but on American metal?

  • http://www.bangaloreaviation.com/ Devesh Agarwal

    Chris, I have sympathy for Ms. Waters, and I definitely feel she should be refunded those $120. Both BA and AA are known to be very stingy to drive ancillary revenue. I was shocked to learn that BA charges fees for blocking seats on international business class!!!

    However, in my humble opinion, I disagree with you on code-sharing, and your generalisation on code-sharing. All the mainline carriers like DL, UA, AA, US, CO, code-share their regional and commuter airlines. American Eagle, United Express, ASA, Colgin, are separate airlines with their own operating permits. I do not see you criticising this arrangement in the United States.

    Today, globally, not just the US, on every ticket and every reservation, if the flight is operated by another airline, it is clearly mentioned. So boldly that it is impossible for Ms. Waters to not have noticed.

    Code-sharing and inter-line agreements are at the very essence of global alliances. Member airlines extend their network using code-shares and inter-line arrangements with other member airlines. By and large code-sharing delivers a similar level of service across the two airlines.

    As you know, code-sharing is a simple arrangement, where one airline buys a certain number of seats on every flight of another airline, and gets the right to place its flight number on the other airline’s service. In this case, American is responsible for everything since the contract is between Ms. Waters and American. Any deficiency of service by British Airways is between it and American not Ms. Waters.

    If American’s passengers choose to let their airline get away without compensation by blaming any deficiency on another airline, then sorry, there is precious little we, as outsiders, can do.

    Based on my very extensive travel experience, I would probably rate most global airlines with on-board service levels higher than that of US carriers, especially on an International service. US carriers though may have a better hard product.

    I strongly recommend use of sites like SeatGuru.com who have extensive seat maps. I recently flew EgyptAir for the first time, and did my research before buying a ticket on that airline. Had a good experience, though I did miss my wine with dinner, and a cognac after that. :) (EgyptAir is a “dry” airline).

  • http://www.bangaloreaviation.com/ Devesh Agarwal

    Fully agree with you. JFK/EWR~LHR is just 6~6.5 hours, and for at least 2 of those, use of the toilets is not allowed.

  • http://www.bangaloreaviation.com/ Devesh Agarwal

    From Seatguru. Flights JFK to LHR nonstop on AA. Even a third party site shows codeshares.
    Flight #DepartureArrivalAircraft6143 (codeshare)JFK 8:00aLHR 7:40pBoeing 747-400142JFK 9:40aLHR 9:30pBoeing 777100JFK 6:20pLHR 6:20aBoeing 7776133 (codeshare)JFK 6:50pLHR 6:35aBoeing 747-4006139 (codeshare)JFK 7:10pLHR 7:00aBoeing 747-4006141 (codeshare)JFK 7:30pLHR 7:20aBoeing 747-400138JFK 7:40pLHR 7:40aBoeing 7776137 (codeshare)JFK 8:40pLHR 8:35aBoeing 747-400104JFK 9:10pLHR 9:00aBoeing 7776212 (codeshare)JFK 9:30pLHR 9:20aBoeing 747-4006135 (codeshare)JFK 9:50pLHR 9:35aBoeing 747-4006145 (codeshare)JFK 10:55pLHR 10:45aBoeing 777106JFK 11:10pLHR 11:00aBoeing 777

  • http://www.bangaloreaviation.com/ Devesh Agarwal

    Ooooh. What a delicious thought. Would turn the airline industry on its head, and bang the rear. :)

  • Monica Lynn Kennedy

    I hate codesharing. If I buy a ticket with Southwest, I expect to be on a SW plane with SW employees. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request.

    I don’t buy the OP’s “I didn’t know” story. Every time I’ve flown on a codeshare flight, it has been clearly indicated on the website, whether the airline’s site or a 3rd party.

  • sirwired

    Myth: Codesharing is hard to spot when booking a ticket.

    Fact: Every travel booking website makes it crystal clear when an airline does not operate the flight they are selling. It’s hard for something to be a “lie” when you are told the truth in a rather obvious manner during the booking process. If the traveler booked through an agent, and the agent forgot to disclose… well, that’s the agent’s fault.

    That’s not to say airlines don’t routinely screw up the whole process (ESPECIALLY with ancillary fees), but that does not make the idea of codesharing a “lie.”

  • sirwired

    Seats can also be sold via inter-line marketing agreements, giving you all the destinations of codesharing, but without marking the flight as a different airline. Really, it makes a LOT more sense than codesharing, and would really de-clutter flight status displays.

    Code-sharing isn’t deceptive, but it is also unnecessary.

  • Adam1222

    Oh look, a temper tantrum from Chris Elliott.

    The illiteracy of the customers who write to you, as well as your questionable accusation of “lying,” deserves far more wrath than airlines that offer codeshares.

    Your illiteracy of the airline industry is appalling for someone who purports to be an expert. If codesharing on this route disappeared, the amount of competition would not change. British Airways and American are part of a joint venture agreement. It is the joint venture agreement that eliminates competition (indeed, that is the point of a joint venture agreement), not codesharing specifically.

    I’ve never heard anyone say codesharing impacts award mile availability. Alliances and codesharing are different things. It seems like your gripe on awards is misplaced Chris Elliott “The Airlines are Always Wrong” venting.

    Finally, this shmuck says the seats were behind the wall of the toilet. This suggests they were bulkhead seats with extra legroom. She got what she paid for.

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    I think you’re missing the point. The fact that Waters thought she was buying a preferred seat on an AA plane, and was confused, is the problem — not the flying distance from NY to London, which, with headwinds and ground delays, could have easily come to more than six hours, or whether seat maps are available on one airline vs. another.

  • S E Tammela

    For those who think codesharing is a good thing, consider how you’d feel if you bought a ticket on your favourite airline and then discovered you were flying on some nobody-airline with a terrifying safety record…

  • Charlie Funk

    The point that seems to be missed is that what the OP claims (“…bought a preferred seat…”) can’t happen. American cannot sell preferred seats on BA hardware and BA won’t sell the preferred seat because the reservation is controlled/ticketed by AA. That said, I’m not sure what the $120 charge was for.

  • BillCCC

    Justlike the last column on codesharing I do not see where there is any lying going on. Every time I have booked a flight the airline that is operating the flight is fully disclosed even if I am booking through another airline. As far as the original complaint goes, I believe that preferred seating provides extra legroom. If the OP wanted quiet and relaxation she should have booked in a higher class.

  • MarkKelling

    Chris,

    The only point I can agree with you on is the improving service. Code sharing does absolutely nothing to improve the service you receive on the airline you are buying your ticket from. If you happen to buy a ticket on an airline with crappy service (like, oh, nearly every airline operating in the USA) and you end up on a foreign airline with great service you then receive great service, but this is not improving the crappy service provided by the US based airline. It also opens up the refunds/lost luggage/ missed connections and so on issues that you have reported here where the airline you purchased your ticket from refuses to assist you when the airline you actually fly on screws up.

    Code share does open up more destinations to the flyer. That is a fact. The statement is not being made that the airline in question is now flying to more destinations using their planes which would be a lie. It is only stating that you can reach more destinations without doing multiple bookings on multiple airlines to achieve your desired travel route. You are still free to not accept the offer of your chosen airline when you see the crystal clear notation that your flight is operated by another carrier and book the parts separately or not at all.

    And yes, code share does get you more useable mileage points. If I book a flight from Denver to Timbuktu on United I can bet that it will involve at least one other airline to get me there. Booking the entire trip with United gets me all the miles credited to my United account (eventually) vs. having to sign up for each involved airline’s rewards program individually and collect small bundles of points on airlines I will probably never fly again. Redeeming those points is another story and is difficult for many travelers. I won’t bore you with my multiple success stories of redeeming miles over the years, but will mention I just did a round trip 1st class to London Heathrow on United using points and had no issues getting the dates I needed (yes, during the Olympics).

  • MarkKelling

    Could it be the flight she originally booked was on an AA plane and was later changed to a BA plane?

    Since it is impossible to book an assigned seat on a codeshare plane through the AA web site, I can’t think of any other way this situation occurred.

  • MarkKelling

    Since the airline web sites clearly show exactly which airline each of your flights is on before you purchase the ticket, you can always not purchase the ticket. Even the sites like Orbitz and Travelocity show who actually operates the flights presented long before the purchase is completed.

  • john4868

    Chris… Before you wrote your rant, did you check AA? Here’s a screen shot of the purchase process… Note where it clearly says she purchasing a flight on BA metal? At least prior to purchasing, AA doesn’t allow you to look at the BA seat map but you can look at it for AA flights. Sorry, I wasn’t going to purchase a ticket to check. Also do you know what she bought? According to the AA website, “preferred seat” has a max charge of less than $60 but “main cabin extra” (more legroom) has a charge of $118. Both of these charges are less than what she says she paid.

    Sorry but AA didn’t lie or mislead her on what airline she was flying on.

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    The customer was confused, and really, that’s all that matters to me. I think AA’s explanation speaks for itself. As do the poll results.

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    Looks like someone didn’t have his coffee this morning.

  • NakinaAce

    One of your best posts. Keep this up and you will be in fact a consumer advocate of the first order.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    “Myth: Codesharing gives you access to more destinations.
    Fact: No it doesn’t. . . .”
    Chris, my main airport is Omaha Eppley (OMA). I decided to see how I could get to Chicago (either ORD or MDW) to test your conclusion and used kayak.com, since that’s a great deal faster than looking individually at each of the 6 airlines that fly out of OMA. American, Delta, Frontier, United and US Airways all use a regional jet to get there. Southwest is the only one that doesn’t state outright that it uses another carrier. Southwest has never been an option for me, so I can’t say what metal they use.
    Conclusion: If I didn’t fly on a codeshared flight, I couldn’t get to Chicago by air on 5 out of 6 airlines serving Omaha.
    If I don’t fly on a codeshared flight, generally I can’t get to any hub city to continue on to my ultimate destination. Omaha sometimes has a few nonstop flights to places like Orlando). I had a Delta nonstop flight to LGA (New York City) lined up for next month, but Delta took that away and now I’m going for a tour of airports on codeshared Delta partners to get to New York.
    Codesharing gives *me* access to more destinations, if you count the regional partners as examples of codesharing.

  • TonyA_says

    Who lied? American, Ms. Waters, or Chris? :-)
    That should be today’s poll.

  • technomage1

    First, American and every other airline and or engine (like Expedia) I’ve looked at states when you are booking if the flight is operated by another airline or not. I don’t see how that is lying if it is plainly disclosed. And it’s been that way for years – I do recall years ago asking if I was on the right flight due to a code share. But that issue has been solved now. If I’m flying on a multiple leg journey – and I often do – code sharing allows me to book via one website travel to my destination and view all of my options/costs at a glance. I’ve never had any more or less trouble on a code share flight than on a non code share one.

    Second, most premium seats are bulkhead seats or emergency exit seats . Bulkhead seats in coach are typically behind the restroom. As a tall flyer, I will happily trade the extra inches of legroom for the slight toilet noise – and the airlines know this and charge more for those seats.

    I understand the OP was confused – but honestly, having looked at AA’s website, I don’t see how. I think she was unhappy with her seats after she bought them, thought they weren’t worth the extra money, and decided to complain after the fact.

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    I disagree. The same number of airlines still serve Omaha. Codesharing only makes it appear as if those airlines have a greater reach. You could get the same place by buying a ticket on two different airlines.

    By the way (totally off topic) we are arriving in Omaha this afternoon. We’re just south of Kansas City right now. It’s a beautiful day to be driving. No codesharing on the interstate highway — at least none that I can see. :-)

  • Robert Swirsky

    I find it cheaper to make up my own “multi-airline” itineraries. And I can still get miles if I’m scrupulous about saving the boarding passes if they’re *G or OneWorld, etc, and sending them in. For example, I’m doing a trip to Lisbon. It was cheaper to book a r/t to FRA and then take Iberia r/t to Lisbon than doing the same route via code-share on my carrier.

  • EvilEmpryss

    Just curious, but what’s the alternative? For people who don’t use travel agents, how would we arrange flight from point A to point B if a single airline doesn’t make that connection? Would that mean having to buy a ticket on one airline to a city where we then have to have a ticket on a separate airline to complete the journey?

    If codesharing is bad, and I’m sort of on the fence since the article didn’t actually provide any real proof, what’s better?

  • http://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com/ mytimetotravel

    I’ve never had a problem figuring out what airline is providing my flight. I do have a problem with Chris yet again bad-mouthing FF miles. Thanks to the One World program and my AA FF miles I have flown round the world three times. In business class. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I’d had to pay for the flights.

  • http://daveshere.blogspot.com/ mediadls

    I never book a long flight without checking seat guru. I also find that if you look through third parties, the code sharing becomes transparent and then I look at the equipment on the other airline through seat guru. Lastly, once I find that a flight is code shared I often find discrepancies in price that work to my advantage. Often the alternate airline has lower pricing for the same seat. Yes redeeming miles can be an issue but I am generally successful. So I did not vote. This is not back or white…

  • Alan Gore

    On a codeshare, you may end up on a foreign airline with great service. Unfortunately, this woman ended up on British Airways.

  • Frank Windows

    Sound like Ms Waters got a bulkhead seat. The trade-off for sitting behind the can is that the person ahead can’t recline right into your nose. I’d take that deal. For the future, a trip to SeatGuru.com would have helped her pick seats.

    Also, I disagree about FF miles being worthless, Chris. About 18 months ago I took my family (4) from LA to Puerto Rico, first class in one direction and coach coming back, on about two years’ worth of miles. Just booked tickets for friends and I to Hawaii on a years’ worth of miles, plus half of a RT ticket to NY for myself. All told, at least $5k worth of tickets. Yes, sometimes the schedule is a bit funky, but a free ticket is a free ticket. Miles can pay off if you’re smart about using them.

  • SoBeSparky

    Myths one and two are fact. Your objections are myths.

    In most cases, codesharing can provide the passenger with better through fares. That was one of the principal reasons for codesharing. So it can provide access to more cities at a cheaper price.

    I have no problem redeeming my miles. Last year, for a emergency flight five days before Christmas to attend a funeral, I got my free ticket, rather than pay a regular $900 r/t at holiday fares. Sure, I had to use the “anytime” rewards which cost more miles, but I got there and back conveniently and saved almost $1000 on a city-pair just 1100 miles apart.

    This anecdotal story is not proof, but examining frequent flyer programs at several airlines can result in getting your free flights. Some airlines are notorious at having no availability, while others are consistently praised for having flights available. It is intellectually dishonest to judge an entire industry based on the extremely poor records of a couple of bad apples.

    One Wall Street Journal survey reported these success rates:
    Southwest: 99.3 percent
    JetBlue: 79.3 percent
    United: 71.4 percent
    Continental: 71.4 percent
    Alaska: 63.4 percent
    American: 62.9 percent
    Delta: 27.1 percent
    US Airways: 25.7 percent

  • http://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com/ mytimetotravel

    But then your connection isn’t protected!!!

  • AndTheHorseYouRodeInOn

    If I had a nickel for every passenger who waived their printed itinerary in front of me while screaming over and over (“it’s your airline”) and the itinerary clearly says in big, bold letters “OPERATED BY AIR CANADA” or “OPERATED BY USAIRWAYS”, I’d be rich.
    When they really get testy I point to the departure screen and ask them if they see their nonstop to Toronto or Charlotte…….of course they don’t but still argue that their itinerary (which they never bothered to look at until they are standing at the wrong airline) says (my airline). READ THE DAMN PIECE OF PAPER YOU HAVE IN YOUR HAND – you took the time to book it and pay for it — READ AND UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU HAVE PAID FOR !! Have no sympathy for this passenger, she didn’t do her reading or homework clearly.
    However, I agree codeshares rot and should be done away with.

  • Kairho

    I think Charlie Leocha took over Chris’ column today.

  • john4868

    Chris… honestly try flying out of somewhere other than MCO. Those of us that don’t live at a hub or the house of the mouse have far fewer choices and code sharing works for us.

  • Kairho

    And … even if a flight was not a code share when purchased, if there is a change to schedules such that one is moved to a code share flight, the airline is legally required, at your request, to either refund or make alternate arrangements.

    All code shares are prominently displayed, by law in the US at least, when looking at flight availability and on all itineraries.

  • Denise L

    Airlines are required to advise when a passenger books on a Codeshare flight. “The customer was confused, and really, that’s all that matters to me. I think AA’s explanation speaks for itself. As do the poll results.” Wow! I have always found you to be very rational but this comment makes no sense. If a passenger doesn’t read the information provided, then it is the airlines’ fault? And your blog pointed the finger at the airlines so of course that is what your poll shows. However, the readers who spend a little more time to comment seem to overwhelmingly say no lying took place.

  • TowerRat

    Hmmm, Southwest and JetBlue have the highest success rates….. and EXTREMELY limited codeshares, Every other one has Extensive codeshares, and lower success rates…. I think you may have HELPED make Chris’s point.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Chris, I respectfully think you are missing the point. John Baker posted you a screen capture of the AA booking screen. The “Operated by British Airways” is more prominent than the AA logo–it’s impossible for anyone who can read to miss the fact it’s a BA flight.

    Anyone who could look at that screen and miss the fact they’d be flying BA would just get confused about something else. These are the folks who end up in Terminal A when everything they had said Terminal D, or who hang a left when the huge arrow pointing to their gate says to go right.

  • TowerRat

    So a question for all of you that want to attack on the basis of “She should have known better”. I booked a red-eye from San Jose to the east coast on Delta. I noted that the 1st leg was on a “Delta Connection”. Which terminal should I go to in order to check in?

    Ah, more information, the “Delta Connection” carrier was American Eagle. So is this an American Airlines flight or a Delta flight?

    Folks, I ain’t a beginner at this, I’m a multi-million mile traveler, with a average or better IQ, and I got it wrong. I went to Delta, they enlightened me, so I went to American. The next round of fun came in figuring out who’s baggage ripoff…. I mean ‘surcharge’ applied……. It was a $200 difference in cost to me.

  • john4868

    You did just hit on the one aspect of codeshares that I do have an issue with. If I pay for a ticket on XYZ Air, I should get the benefits of flying XYZ but if my first leg is on CDSH, I could get stuck with hundreds in unplanned fees.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    Wow, @Adam1222:disqus Talk about a temper tantrum of the first order! Even on his worst day, I’ve never seen Chris resort to name-calling the way you have!

    Sorry, but, you lose me the instant you make it this personal. You’re not Michael O’Leary using a pseudonym, are you?

    http://redtape.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/07/13710824-the-truth-comes-out-ceo-says-stupid-consumers-deserve-hefty-fees?lite

  • plateman

    not our problem that she does not know how to use a computer

  • plateman

    and usually on the widebodies, the exit row is by the toilets, so she paid $120 for extra legroom and got that

  • lcpossum

    That’s pure bunk about allowing you to collect more FF miles. I fly between ATL and Hanoi frequently and always book on the Delta website. Sometimes, none of the legs are actually Delta metal, but generally Korean Air with a DL flight number and sometimes there’s some Vietnam Air metal in the mix. The trans-Pacific leg always pays miles but the leg from ICN to HAN only pays sometimes, and it doesn’t seem to matter whether it was Korean or Vietnam.

  • SoBeSparky

    This survey is based on specific searches for the lowest-mileage reward availability. If I included all the methodology, who would read it?

    No, fact is, for most airlines, 60% of inquiries find lowest-mile redemptions available. That is a great success rate, considering all the factors involved, including simply sold out flights. So others must redeem more miles when seats are available. It is still is not a myth. That would tend to indicate the US Airways and Delta results are the industry norm.

    So just how is a 60% success rate proving a myth? Must be a new definition of a myth.

  • Daddydo

    Code sharing at this time in history is confusing, but not bad. We issue tickets from Pittsburgh to Frankfurt via Dulles on Lufthansa cheaper than the actual airline flying the route – United. Why? Who the hell knows. It does indeed allow airlines to sell routes that they don’t actually operate. Why? Who cares? It allows for lower fares. My job is to make sure that you understand the different flights and transfers. Where it gets really bad, is when a flight is delayed or cancelled. Now the blame game, reissue game, and rerouting game gets complicated, especially internationally.

    Luggage – it is the airline at the final destination that is responsible for baggage delivery. There is no blame to be assessed, it is an IATAN rule.

    This is another fine example of travelers that think that they are travel agents. My computer shows me every bathroom on the plane in plain site, and every level of seating upgrades They paid way too much for the seats as stated above.

  • LJBROCK

    I voted yes based on my own experience with code sharing. Almost two years ago, my father-in-law passed away. My husband and I had to fly with about 24 hours notice from Arizona to North Carolina. My husband had enough frequent flyer miles on Alaska Airlines for a mostly free ticket. Alaska did not fly to where we needed to go. Using their codeshare program, he was able to book a ticket on American for only $35. Then we worked for an hour on the phone with AA trying to get me on the same flights for the least amount of money. I ended up getting a last minute ticket on the same flights for about $600. The codeshare program helped us a great deal in this situation. And AA was amazing getting us on the same flights and seated together.

  • Lindabator

    Chris, before code sharing, you would have needed to book Detroit – New York on American, New York to London on British Air, London to Nairobi on Air Kenya – collect baggage, recheck in for flights each way, and not 1 ticket fare but three, which were FAR more expensive and far more of a logistical nightmare. Yes, YOU hate codeshare flights, but to the thousands of fliers daily who would face pricing and logistical nightmares without them, you are ranting about the wrong things here.

  • Lindabator

    And two sets of tickets means two check ins, and two fares whcih are generally higher than a thru fare. You a actually wrong this time, Chris. And it is NOT lying, as it is CLEARLY stated when another airline is the metal you fly. Maybe you prefer multiple checkins, multiple bag fees at each stop, and higher overall fares, but MOST here wouldn’t!

  • TonyA_says

    Yes, Delta DID codeshare American Eagle from/to LAX. But that went away 12APR this year. Your itinerary should have shown DLxxxx operated by American Eagle AAxxxx, correct? Some Res systems will even display PASSENGER CHECK IN XXXX Terminal.

    http://airlineroute.net/2012/03/09/dlmq-codeshare-apr12/

  • http://www.facebook.com/LindaDuncanJordan Linda Duncan-Jordan

    Codesharing means; Lost in translation!

  • Daddydo

    The other interesting point that we are not yet aware of, is what class of economy ticket did they purchase? British does not allow pre-reserved seating in their lower fares until day of flight. When other airlines are involved in the code share, we can still pre-assign the seats, based upon availability or upgrade needs. It takes knowledge and time.

  • $16635417

    Lot’s of codeshares on the highways! near Boston I can be on 128 South (State Road), 93 North (Interstate Highway) and US 1 North (US Highway) at the same time while traveling in an easterly direction.

  • http://www.facebook.com/judyserie.nagy Judy Serie Nagy

    I’m sure that 6 hours in those seats SEEMED like 10!

  • Allison

    Chris, I think you are missing the point that the complainant’s story could not have happened the way she told it. She could not have bought a preferred seat on a BA metal flight through American’s web site. She claims that American’s web site showed a seat map for the BA flight–again, AA’s site does not provide seat maps for BA metal. Plus, AA’s response to her complaint is so generic (and I criticize AA for that) in regards to a supposed problem that could not have happened that it makes the whole story highly suspect. Without some sort of proof–a copy of the reservation/receipt of the supposed preferred seat purchase/boarding pass/etc, I just don’t believe this person. The facts as presented just don’t add up. And because of that, it makes the whole conversation about the merits or perils of code-sharing a bit of a red herring since it is in the context of a likely bogus story.
    As for the 6 hours versus 9 hours–that is a big enough difference to question the veracity of the other facts of the claim.

  • $16635417

    Well, if I have a favorite airline, I must fly at least semi-regularly. So I’d think.. “Wow, how did I miss this! It’s even clearly on my itinerary!”

    Just curious, what are some examples of nobody airlines with a terrifying safety records?

  • Adam1222

    Nope, I despise your false assumptions and encouragement of overentitled customers every day!

  • rogerbarnett@comcast.net

    Why not book the flight on the British Airways web site rather than use AA ticketing for a BA flight. Then you deal with the operating airline, and you do not fall between the cracks. You can still get AA miles on BA flights from US to London; what else do you need? We did just that this summer from SFO to LHR

  • Adam1222

    I don’t see anymore name calling than referring to airlines as liars when their customers don’t read before booking.
    I await your response to any of the extremely substantive points I made.

  • rogerbarnett@comcast.net

    In reference to my earlier post, yes, BA allows you to “purchase” a seat in advance in the low cost economy cabin, otherwise you cannot make a seat reservation until check-in time. We did this on a BA flight this summer to LHR; but it was not preferred seating (extra legroom etc).

  • rogerbarnett@comcast.net

    And I will agree with that: BA is about as high (or low) in quality of service as its US partner, AA

  • Kevkev12

    I agree with you. His information misleads recently.

  • Kevkev12

    Not sure if you ever book an air ticket if you have this comment.

  • TonyA_says

    There may be a rational explanation to all this. Imagine this scenario.

    Lisa Waters bought a JFK-LHR airline ticket from AA. She purchased Preferred Seats (meaning the flights had to be originally scheduled as AA operated flights). According to her, she paid $120. If I read John Baker’s analysis correctly, that could be 2 x $60 (round trip) or one $118 fee to seat in the Extra Cabin section of AA’s B777. Maybe she just round up the fee. But as you can see, there is no reason to doubt her reserving a preferred seat on an AA flight.

    At some point, AA may have changed her flight to an AA codeshared BA-operated B744. British Airways does not really have preferred seating. What BA has is an ECONOMY PREMIUM [separate] section. On international flights, BA calls this service World Traveler PLUS. Economy Premium is a total different and more expensive fare class than regular economy plus a [better] seat fee. In other words, AA might have upgraded Ms. Waters to a much more expensive cabin without her realizing it.

    The problem is seats 12-A and 12-B on BA’s World Traveler Plus cabin [for the 345 seat version] of the B747-400 is right behind the lavatories. Check out this pic http://imgur.com/WMaH4 to see the seating issue.

    Ms. Waters may have bought Preferred Seating from AA to avoid seating behind a lavatory. AA’s B777 seat map clearly shows that is possible. She does have a right to get pissed if she ended up seating on a place she did not want (even if it was on a higher cabin class).

    If this scenario is what really happened, then it had nothing to do with a codeshare problem. It was caused by a flight substitution with a different type of aircraft altogether.

    In my opinion, the 3 biggest problems with codeshares are:
    (1) Insufficient information on which TERMINAL the passenger should check in at,
    (2) Increased Difficulty or Problems with Advanced Seat Reservations, and
    (3) Failure to provide RLOC (Reservation Confirmation #) of the operating airlines system making it more difficult for passenger to do advanced check in or get other services.

    I would not have chosen Lisa Waters’ problem as an example of codeshare “lies”. Even if AA booked her reservation on a BA coded (interline) flight, she would have the same problem since AA (or BA) could still put her behind the lavatories.

  • TonyA_says

    There may be a rational explanation to all this. Imagine this scenario.

    Lisa Waters bought a JFK-LHR airline ticket from AA. She purchased Preferred Seats (meaning the flights had to be originally scheduled as AA operated flights). According to her, she paid $120. If I read John Baker’s analysis correctly, that could be 2 x $60 (round trip) or one $118 fee to seat in the Extra Cabin section of AA’s B777. Maybe she just round up the fee. But as you can see, there is no reason to doubt her reserving a preferred seat on an AA flight.

    At some point, AA may have changed her flight to an AA codeshared BA-operated B744. British Airways does not really have preferred seating. What BA has is an ECONOMY PREMIUM [separate] section. On international flights, BA calls this service World Traveler PLUS. Economy Premium is a total different and more expensive fare class than regular economy plus a [better] seat fee. In other words, AA might have upgraded Ms. Waters to a much more expensive cabin without her realizing it.

    The problem is seats 12-A and 12-B on BA’s World Traveler Plus cabin [for the 345 seat version] of the B747-400 is right behind the lavatories. Check out this pic http://imgur.com/WMaH4 to see the seating issue.

    Ms. Waters may have bought Preferred Seating from AA to avoid seating behind a lavatory. AA’s B777 seat map clearly shows that is possible. She does have a right to get pissed if she ended up seating on a place she did not want (even if it was on a higher cabin class).

    If this scenario is what really happened, then it had nothing to do with a codeshare problem. It was caused by a flight substitution with a different type of aircraft altogether.

    In my opinion, the 3 biggest problems with codeshares are:
    (1) Insufficient information on which TERMINAL the passenger should check in at,
    (2) Increased Difficulty or Problems with Advanced Seat Reservations, and
    (3) Failure to provide RLOC (Reservation Confirmation #) of the operating airlines system making it more difficult for passenger to do advanced check in or get other services.

    I would not have chosen Lisa Waters’ problem as an example of codeshare “lies”. Even if AA booked her reservation on a BA coded (interline) flight, she would have the same problem since AA (or BA) could still put her behind the lavatories.

  • TonyA_says

    There may be a rational explanation to all this. Imagine this scenario.

    Lisa Waters bought a JFK-LHR airline ticket from AA. She purchased Preferred Seats (meaning the flights had to be originally scheduled as AA operated flights). According to her, she paid $120. If I read John Baker’s analysis correctly, that could be 2 x $60 (round trip) or one $118 fee to seat in the Extra Cabin section of AA’s B777. Maybe she just round up the fee. But as you can see, there is no reason to doubt her reserving a preferred seat on an AA flight.

    At some point, AA may have changed her flight to an AA codeshared BA-operated B744. British Airways does not really have preferred seating. What BA has is an ECONOMY PREMIUM [separate] section. On international flights, BA calls this service World Traveler PLUS. Economy Premium is a total different and more expensive fare class than regular economy plus a [better] seat fee. In other words, AA might have upgraded Ms. Waters to a much more expensive cabin without her realizing it.

    The problem is seats 12-A and 12-B on BA’s World Traveler Plus cabin [for the 345 seat version] of the B747-400 is right behind the lavatories. Check out the link at the bottom to see a picture of the seating issue.

    Ms. Waters may have bought Preferred Seating from AA to avoid seating behind a lavatory. AA’s B777 seat map clearly shows that is possible. She does have a right to get pissed if she ended up seating on a place she did not want (even if it was on a higher cabin class).

    If this scenario is what really happened, then it had nothing to do with a codeshare problem. It was caused by a flight substitution with a different type of aircraft altogether.

    In my opinion, the 3 biggest problems with codeshares are:

    (1) Insufficient information on which TERMINAL the passenger should check in at,

    (2) Increased Difficulty or Problems with Advanced Seat Reservations, and,
    (3) Failure to provide RLOC (Reservation Confirmation #) of the operating airlines system making it more difficult for passenger to do advanced check in or get other services.

    I would not have chosen Lisa Waters’ problem as an example of codeshare “lies”. Even if AA booked her reservation on a BA coded (interline) flight, she would have the same problem since AA (or BA) could still put her behind the lavatories.

    http://i.imgur.com/WMaH4.jpg

  • TonyA_says

    I am having difficulty replying to your post and uploading a jpg. So I replied to John Baker’s post instead. Maybe that will work.

  • cowboyinbrla

    I think a number of people have made the point that, contrary to Chris’s opinion, code-sharing does offer some benefits to fliers – the ability to book a single ticket for a destination when there’s no airline that flies to that destination from one’s “base”. That doesn’t mean every code-shared flight offers all passengers that benefit – the OP, in this case, was flying from New York to London and more than one airline flies that route non-stop – but the practice itself isn’t inherently a bad thing. What’s missing, as noted in Chris’s commentary, is accountability.

    I would propose a simple rule to be enforced by the FAA (or whomever would oversee such a rule): that if Airline A offers a code-shared flight actually operated by Airline B, the passenger is (from start to finish) governed by the rules of Airline A, and Airline A is responsible in all respects for the customer’s experience. Period. If Airline B cancels its flight, Airline A has to refund the money or rebook the flight or whatever, in accordance with law and A’s rules, and Airline A can then deal with B about being compensated or not. If Airline A offers 1 checked bag free for an elite customer on its flights, and the customer is elite, then the passenger gets a free checked bag, even if A has to pay B for it. If A offers one FF mile per mile flown for that class of fare, then the passenger gets one FF mile per mile flown, regardless of whether B offers miles on that flight, and they’re just as usable for Airline A flights as any miles earned on A’s metal. (Redemption with partners is a separate issue, which should probably be addressed but it’s a different issue.)

    This rule would offer two enormous benefits. First, it would simplify things for the passenger – you bought a ticket on American, you deal with American and you get American’s rules. And that means the FAA can put the squeeze on them to enforce their rules (which is another issue, but…). And second, it might just force carriers to consider carefully before offering these code-share alliances tied to airlines with crappy service records, if they know they’ll be on the hook for the experience.

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    Oh my. Look at those poll results.

    I just arrived in Omaha, opened my browser, and saw the vote. Can you say “landslide”?

  • Wandering Aramean

    Actually, codesharing does improve the ability to earn miles for many programs. Just because you hate FF programs in general doesn’t change the way they work.

    And while it doesn’t change the number of destinations served it often makes many of them cheaper. Without the codeshare many fares would end up being end-on-end and more expensive than a through fare between the end points.

    Finally, both IATA and the DoT have recently revised the rules on checked baggage allowances when multiple carriers are involved. The current rules are surprisingly easy to understand and reasonably well implemented around the world.

    This rant seems stuck somewhere back in time rather than a commentary on how things actually operate today. A shame, really.

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    I’ve been waiting for FlyerTalkers to show up. What took you so long?

    But I’ve gotta be honest, I was expecting a little more than this for a rebuttal. I wish you’d tell me how great the lying … er, I mean, codesharing, is for passengers.

  • TonyA_says

    In my opinion, codeshares are nothing but a pain in the arse for travelers and travel agents. Its real purpose is to make it look like an airline’s “system” is larger than what it really is.

    Consider life before codeshare. I travelled around the world twice before I had even heard of codeshares. If I can travel around the world (on a conjunction ticket without my luggage getting lost) using INTERLINING then why would I ever need a codeshare? The real lie is when airlines start telling you that codeshare is GOOD FOR YOU. No, it is only GOOD FOR THEM.

    Folks here need to understand that before 2 airlines can even think of codesharing, they MUST have an INTERLINING (ticketing and baggage) agreement -AND- MUST have the ability to perform IATCI – InterAirline Through Check-In. These two features alone can already guarantee us with seamless and relatively problem-free travel EVEN WITHOUT A SINGLE CODESHARE.

    The whole purpose for INTERLINING is to allow travelers to fly to places (on one ticket) where more than one airline is needed to complete the journey. CODESHARING does not change that fact. Even without codesharing, you can still fly between most cities on an INTERLINED ticket. What you see (in your itinerary) is what you get. No smoke and mirrors. If you tell a cab driver you are on an AA flight at JFK, he knows to take you to Terminal 8. Today if my shuttle company asks for my flight number, I cannot trust them enough to know that AA6212 is actually BA172 out of Terminal 7 in JFK. Yes, I can read my itinerary (and my GDS). But why do we have to screw up a coding system that has worked for a very long time – AAxxxx should mean I will need to go to the AA terminal and be on an AA flight.

    So if seamless travel was already doable with INTERLINING and IATCI, why do airlines codeshare? Just to look bigger?

    Why does AA need to codeshare BA flights from JFK to LHR when AA already flies that same route? It does not make their system bigger in terms of expanding destinations.
    Maybe it makes it looks like they have MORE flights so they look like a bigger and stronger airline? However, consider this more sinister reasoning.
    If AA and BA did not codeshare, their seat inventories would be totally independent of each other. Each airline would endeavor to sell as many seats on their own airplanes making prices fall if it had to. But with codesharing (and joint ventures), both airlines can go to the extent of coordinating seat inventories and flight schedules, so that the total supply of seats can match more closely the total demand of both airlines. That may lead to less unsold seats and therefore higher prices for consumers. Codesharing, coordination and collusion is good for the airlines, not you.

    If you are still not convinced that codesharing is not good for you then next time you book a not-so-simple international flight, compare the price of an itinerary entirely composed of codeshare flights and one composed of interlined (non-codeshare) flights. You might be surprised that the latter can be a lot cheaper especially if the codeshare agreement does not allow for free-sale seat allocation (between the airlines).

    Finally, as others here may have already said, Joint-Ventures are more dangerous than simple codesharing. JV’s are only legally possible because airlines get a WAIVER or IMMUNITY from anti-trust / anti-monolopy laws. I can’t figure how that can be helpful to consumers at all.

    It is sad that many posts focused on the OP’s lack of knowledge to deal with a complicated system rather than QUESTION THE SYSTEM ITSELF.

  • bayareascott

    Chris, your second “fact” is anything but. It’s your opinion passed off as fact. I love your column, but that is incredibly poor reporting while trying to further your agenda. Writing like that completely undermines what you supposedly are all about.

  • TonyA_says

    Are you referring to Frequent Flyer miles?
    I thought earning miles on OTHER AIRLINE flights is a matter of agreement and policy. There is nothing stopping airlines for making us earn the same miles on non-codeshare flights if they really want to. Alliance and bilateral agreements can easily handle those issues.
    Maybe airlines use mileage as the fake differentiator between a codeshare and simple interlined flight. They can manipulate the value of a codeshare flight by giving it parity to their self operated flights. Otherwise, why would anyone put up with a codeshared flight?

  • http://www.facebook.com/CarverFarrow Carver Clark Farrow

    The issue can’t merely be that the customer was confusted. The issue must be whether that confusion was reasonable. Given the transparency involved, I do not see how someone can reasonably be confused.
    The poll may speak for itself, but so do the vast majority of posts.

  • bayareascott

    I don’t understand your comment at all. What I said was….

    This is the quote: “Oh really? Try redeeming your hard-earned frequent flier points for a flight and tell me how that goes. Unless you’re super-flexible or have an encyclopedic knowledge of programs and codeshare partnerships, you’re going to feel like a sucker for having bought that argument. It’s worthless scrip.”

    That is an opinion. That is not a fact.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CarverFarrow Carver Clark Farrow

    My experience with luggage on a code share mirrors what you are saying. We booked from SFO to Paris on American with a stopover at Heathrow. The Heathrow –> Paris portion was on BA, which proceeded to lose some luggage. It took a week to find, but they never once blamed American Airlines. They also gave us a $500 check for our trouble. No code share problems at all.

  • TonyA_says

    Sorry but I cannot see any improvement of a codeshare for this DTW-NBO example. You can JUST AS EASILY sell an INTERLINED ticket today. See below proof:

    1 DL 234Q 11SEP TU DTWAMS 710P 905A#1
    2 KL 565H 12SEP WE AMSNBO 1115A 815P
    3 KL 566H 25SEP TU NBOAMS 1030P 540A#1
    4 DL 251Q 26SEP WE AMSDTW 815A 1045A

    PNR PRICED ON 11SEP FOR TKTG ON 11SEP
    * REF WITH FEE/CHG FEE APPLIES
    * PRICING RULES VALIDATING CARRIER DEFAULT DL
    ** 12SEP DEPARTURE DATE/ 12SEP IS LAST DATE TO TICKET
    ** TICKETING WITHIN 72 HRS AFTER SEGMENT SELL REQUIRED **
    * FARE MAY CHANGE UNLESS TICKETED *

    TICKET BASE USD TX/FEE USD TKT TTL USD
    ADT01 1552.00 707.70 2259.70
    *TTL 1552.00 707.70 2259.70

    FBC ADT QKAFAN3
    ADT DTT DL X/AMS KL NBO M776.00KL X/AMS DL DTT M776.00NUC
    1552.00END ROE1.00DL XT33.40US5.00XA2.50AY18.20CJ16.60RN
    5.00VV40.00TU570.00YR4.50XF DTW4.5

    BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE
    ADT
    DL DTWNBO 2PC
    BAG 1 – NO FEE UPTO50LB/23KG AND UPTO62LI/158LCM
    BAG 2 – NO FEE UPTO50LB/23KG AND UPTO62LI/158LCM
    CARRY ON- CARRY ON DATA NOT AVAILABLE

    DL NBODTW 2PC
    BAG 1 – NO FEE UPTO50LB/23KG AND UPTO62LI/158LCM
    BAG 2 – NO FEE UPTO50LB/23KG AND UPTO62LI/158LCM
    CARRY ON- CARRY ON DATA NOT AVAILABLE

    I also fail to see what logistical nightmare the traveler could have with this ticket. He should be able to check through all the way, both directions.
    Am I missing something?

  • TonyA_says

    I think (my opinion) that he just gave a poor explanation of a more complex issue. I think it is obvious that some people are able to get FREE award tickets and UPGRADES. Some are harder to get than others. Those issues are separate from codeshares.

    However, as I said, airlines can make codeshares more palatable by making them earn the same miles as flights actually flown by the airlines -AND- allowing them to be redeemed for awards and upgrades, too.

    My point is that a flight being a codeshare by itself does not make it easier to earn miles or redeem for miles. It is the policy of the airlines that matter.

  • Carchar

    Every time I fly from Newark to Redmond, OR on United, I have to fly the second short leg back over the Cascades on a codeshare. If I purchased the tickets on each airline separately, I’d have to eat the cost of the connector if I missed it. (I haven’t read all the comments yet, but I’m sure someone has mentioned this.)

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Tony, that’s a great explanation of why codesharing is a bad thing for consumers and I follow your examples.
    Since it’s all about me in the end anyway (#snerk), can you explain why codesharing is bad for me when flying from OMA say to LGA? The way it is now, I get a regional jet from here to XYZ (your choice of hub), then a regular sized jet from XYZ to LGA. Help me understand your logic here. Thanks!

  • bayareascott

    Agreed.

  • Adam_The_Man

    Just so you know, that dude is not me.

  • http://bidontravel.com/mobile/index.html Don Nadeau

    “Chris, before code sharing, you would have needed to book Detroit – New York on American, New York to London on British Air, London to Nairobi on Air Kenya – collect baggage, recheck in for flights each way, and not 1 ticket fare but three . . ..”

    I agree with TonyA. The statement above is not correct.

    Except for a few budget airlines like Southwest, which do not have ticketing or baggage transfer agreements with others, you have long had the ability to book a variety of airlines on one ticket (even in some cases where the fare rules vary) and to check luggage through to your destination.

    Of course, if you are flying from Sydney to Los Angeles on Qantas and then on to Dallas on American, you would have to be with your luggage going through customs in LA and then would have to put the bags on a conveyor belt to your next flight, even if you have checked your luggage through to Dallas.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    you guys just don’t get it.
    Most of the USA is going down the toilet. If legacy airlines don’t codeshare they would simply not survive.
    Only ones that would survive would be southwest, allegiant, jetblue & few other low cost airlines.
    If airlines couldn’t codehsare, they would either have to not fly that route at all, or do it at a loss.

  • TonyA_says

    In my opinion, Codesharing CAN BE bad or good depending on your situation. When codesharing is used as a “tool” to make price collusion happen easier, then it is BAD for you. When it does not lower price and just adds to your confusion, then it is BAD for you. When codesharing allows an airline to sell another airlines seat inventory WITHOUT price collusion, and the price drops then, it CAN be GOOD for you.

    Your OMA-LGA is not a real case of interlining. Let me explain.
    In real interlining, one airline needs (to sell space) on another airline (that is also selling its own space) to complete a journey. So for OMA-LGA, none of the key airlines plying the route really needs the other airline. Not one of them is increasing the reach of their networks by interlining [or just codesharing].

    Most (if not all) of the flights from OMA to LGA are not interlined. Most of the flights are VIA a HUB operated by a large airline like United, Delta, American, USAir, etc. These airlines do not need another airline to fly passengers from OMA to LGA and back. What they are really doing is OUTSOURCING one or more of the segments OMA-“HUB”-LGA to a REGIONAL carrier (that they have some “control” over).

    To lower their costs, large airlines “form” siblings that pay pilots and staff much less. Since these siblings are technically its own airline, they get a different airline CODE. Hence a “weasel like” use of the term codesharing.

    Let’s take a Delta flight as an example:
    1*S#DL4305 OMADTW- 615A 926A 8 CRJ 0E
    2*S#DL2048 DTWLGA-1000A1149A 7 320 0E
    DL4305 OPERATED BY PINNACLE DBA DELTA CONNECTION

    If this were a true interlined flight, PINNACLE would be selling airline tickets on its own flight. But the fact is that PINNACLE (9E) is flying the whole darn flight “for Delta”. You will be hard pressed to see a PINNACLE sign at La Guardia.

    Compare the next example:
    1*A#US6908 OMAORD- 620A 753A 319 0E
    2*A#US6752 ORDLGA- 854A1200N 320 0E
    US6908 OPERATED BY UNITED AIRLINES – UA612
    US6752 OPERATED BY UNITED AIRLINES – UA674

    In this example USAir is simply selling a complete UA flight. Those UA flights are also sold by United. Because USAir is using their own flight numbers for the UA flights, then they are CODESHARING the UA flights.

    Compare further the next example:
    1*A#US2644 OMACLT- 715A1046A N CR9 0E
    2*A#US1129 CLTLGA-1140A 134P 8 321 0E
    US2644 OPERATED BY US AIRWAYS EXPRESS-MESA AIRLINES

    This is similar to the Delta example above. You are hauled to USAir’s hub in Charlotte first. That flight is operated by MESA (YV) for US Airways.

    So in the last 2 examples, you could go to US Airways and buy a flight that is completely theirs (with some outsourcing); or you can buy a flight that is completely on United but with US Air flight numbers? The latter is a codeshare. You will be hard pressed to call it a true interlined flight since the passenger does not connect between the carriers. The only “interlining” that is happening is United is accepting USAir ticket coupons for their flights.

    Now what value could there be for travelers to buy a USAir codeshare flight that is totally on United? In this particular case, USAir has fares that are cheaper than United.

    OMANYC NLX FARES FOR TRVL 11OCT12 AND TKTG LN A/L F.B.C. USD OW RT EFF LTK AP MIN/MAX
    1 US #RXAVSA6Y 86.00 172.00 11SEP12 – ## – / –
    2 US #EXAUSA6Y 98.00 196.00 11SEP12 – ## – / –
    3 US #EXAVNA6P 119.00 238.00 7SEP12 – ## – / –
    4 UA KA21KN 139.00 278.00 6SEP12 – ## – / –

    So for as long as USAir will sell you seats at R and E class on the United-operated flights, then you are getting a “bargain” buying the flights from USAir.

    USAir codesharing OMA-LGA United flights did NOT increase or expand the destination airports of USAir since it already flies OMALGA. It allowed US to exploit UA fares and in this case benefit consumers.

    However you will see quite a different picture for TransAtlantic flights. Here’s an example of some JFK-LHR flights for OneWorld:

    11OCT-TH-6A JFKLHR(NYCLON)ET **

    1*O#AA6133 JFKLHR- 650P 635A#1 744 0E
    AA6133 OPERATED BY BRITISH AIRWAYS
    2 #IB4610 JFKLHR- 650P 635A#1 744 0E
    IB4610 OPERATED BY BRITISH AIRWAYS
    3*O#BA 112 JFKLHR- 650P 635A#1 744 0E

    1 #BA1587 JFKLHR- 740P 740A#1 777 0E
    BA1587 OPERATED BY AMERICAN
    2*O#AA 138 JFKLHR- 740P 740A#1 777 0E
    3*O#IB4455 JFKLHR- 740P 740A#1 777 0E
    IB4455 OPERATED BY AMERICAN

    Note that BA operated flights from JFK to LHR are codeshared by AA and IB. At the same token AA operated flights are also codeshared by BA and IB.

    While the flight schedules look “harmless” to consumers, a quick look at AA/BA/IB fares for NYC-LHR tells a different story.

    NYCLON NLX FARES FOR TRVL 11OCT12
    LN A/L F.B.C. USD RT EFF LTK AP MIN/MAX
    1 IB E QKW7Q3D1 261.00 11SEP12 11OCT12 ## SUN/365
    2 AA E QKW0Q3D1 261.00 11SEP12 11OCT12 ## SUN/365
    3 BA E QKW0Q3D1 261.00 11SEP12 11OCT12 ## SUN/365

    Their lowest fares are exactly the same. You don’t see the same US to UA difference in fares for the same flights. You call that competition? Don’t think so.

    So if you ask me what codeshare is good for FOR CONSUMERS, my answer is – only if and when it leads to lower fares.

  • TonyA_says

    Carver, I think you are confusing CODESHARE and INTERLINING.
    Airlines have always been able to ticket destinations (or origins) that they don’t fly by simply INTERLINING those segments with other airlines.
    Codesharing is “interlining on steroids”. Or, if you ask Chris, interlining with “smoke and mirrors. :-) Another more recent phenomena is JOINT VENTURES. That, IMO, is a lot worse that CODESHARE.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CarverFarrow Carver Clark Farrow

    On some airlines you earn miles by flying on a code share. I know American Airlines permits it. I just checked. I also know that you can redeem awards on AA’s code share partners. I just did so last Friday.

    Chris basically hates airline loyalty programs and code shares. I don’t think anything short of seeing a burning bush is going to change his mind.

  • Cybrsk8r

    The biggest problem with codesharing, IMO, is how codesharing airlines react when something goes wrong, such as lost baggage. They each say the other is to blame and the customer ends up getting screwed.

    How about this? A law that says the airline that sells the ticket is the responsible party, period. Regardless of who was actually at fault. So if United sells a codeshare ticket on BA, and BA loses the luggage, United is still responsible for it, since they sold the ticket, period. Now if United and BA want to argue between themselves over whose fault it was, fine, but they only get to do that AFTER the customer is made whole.

  • BobChi

    Thanks for your well informed and thoughtful comments.

  • BobChi

    Absolutely. At the ombudsman role, Chris is knowledgeable and interesting to read. He chooses not to be informed about FF miles. That’s fine, as everyone can’t be an expert at everything and there are other places to turn for that information. But when he makes flippant statements like, “Try redeeming your hard-earned frequent flier points for a flight and tell me how that goes,” I can only reply – “Well this year the flight to Germany went well. The flight to Russia went well. The flight to Chicago booked at the last minute for a family member’s funeral went well. The flight to Australia went well; and, last but not least, the flight to Argentina went well too. Next year I’m looking forward to the trips to the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, East Asia, and the Middle East.” All on frequent flyer miles, and most already booked.

  • BobChi

    Southwest has a different model. Their program effectively credits a cash equivalent to you, which simply gets applied to making purchases. So if a paid seat is available, you can also get it with Southwest’s reward program if you have enough available. Some people like that. Others would rather build rewards to international destinations and/or in premium cabins, something which you cannot get with Southwest no matter how big a balance you have.

  • BobChi

    Just to check arbitrarily, I put in the month of October for Dallas-Fort Worth to Honolulu on United. You can get 27 of the 31 dates outbound and 28 of the 31 dates inbound at the lowest FF miles. That’s next month, not sometime way out in the future. I do not know which city pairs Chris has found himself unable to book with FF miles resulting in his weird attitude, but I think lots of people would enjoy going to Hawaii. It took me roughly one minute to get this information.

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    I take a big picture view of loyalty programs. As with any pyramid scheme, you have some people at the top, acting as apologists for the programs. But you have a lot of clueless folks at the bottom, supporting the scam. Ultimately, the only ones to get anything approaching value from loyalty programs are those at the top — and, of course, the companies that offer the programs. I mean, how many of your hard-earned dollars did you spend with a “preferred” airline to get all those miles? How many deals did you turn down? How many mileage runs. Wake up, people!

  • Ann Lamoy

    Or Chris-how about my sister-who lives near Lake Placid NY? The nearest significant hub she can fly out of is either BTV or ALB.

    For example, she is meeting me in Las Vegas next Friday for a 5 day vacation. In order to get there at a decent time, she would have to leave early in the morning. Which means an overnight stay. In addition, there are cost for gas for the 2 hour trip over and back, parking and the ferry. Even if she wasn’t taking an early flight and took a later flight to get into Vegas in the evening, you still have the gas, ferry and parking. So at least another $100 on top of the ticket. Flying out of ALB means about the same expense-if not slightly more.

    When I bought her ticket for her in March (she hates buying anything over the internet), it was actually cheaper to buy a ticket directly out of our local airport-5 miles from her house. Her husband can bring her and drop her off. No extra expense or wear and tear on the car. Code-sharing made this possible.

    Me? I fly out of SEA and gladly pay the parking fee, But I only have a 2 hour flight this time instead of my usual cross country flight when I go back East to visit. But when I do-I too have to code share. Even flying into BTV or ALB. Never had a problem earning miles (or redeeming them) or confusion about it either.

  • Ann Lamoy

    Also if you check in via computer in advance, you can tell what your baggage ripoff fee will be since (at least with Delta since that is the airline I usually fly) they let you prepay it. Although I have an Amex Skymiles card so I get the first checked bag free.

  • BobChi

    It’s mostly credit card and other signup bonuses for me. And I fully agree those are not for everyone – you have to have decent credit and be able to manage credit to do that. Yes, like many other things in life, you need to be smart about how you deal with frequent flyer miles, and undoubtedly some approach the process poorly. First time I’ve been identified as being at the top of a pyramid. On my salary I”m very middle class, but I definitely don’t travel like it. Come to think of it, I was indeed on top of a pyramid earlier this year in Mexico thanks to a free flight!

  • MarkKelling

    Never done a mileage run.
    Never turned down a “Deal.”

    The loyalty programs are not a pyramid. A pyramid requires more and more participants to keep going. The more people there are in a loyalty program water down the availability of benefits which make the program less attractive to those at the top.

    I fly 75000 miles or more every year, so why shouldn’t I belong to an airline plan? I would be spending those dollars anyway, so why not spend them with an airline that gives me something in return that is useful and saves me money? Does this mean I only choose a single airline when I fly? No, absolutely not. I pick the one that works best for what I want to do and if it happens to be the best “deal” at the time then great.

    Where I agree with you on your dislike of loyalty programs is those programs are bad for the infrequent flyers who think they are frequent flyers. They see all the benefits offered and dream they will enjoy them. But if all you fly is one vacation trip and one holiday trip each year, you are not a frequent flyer. Paying an annual fee for a credit card that gets you points for free flights is also not a good plan if you are not an actual frequent flyer. The airlines reserve most of the point redemption seats on the most desirable routes for those at the top. So if all you have are a handful of points/miles but have never flown that airline, you are not going to find a “Free” flight.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    I’ve not heard of joint ventures. How do they differ from a codeshare?

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Funniest post all day! How could anybody down vote it? Maybe it was the other Adam mad his cover was blown?

  • TonyA_says

    Airlines that simply codeshare flights still make decisions independently and compete with each other. While they will map the fare class closely with each other (to prevent customers gaming the system), fares are still set independently of each other (at least that is what they say they do) to comply with US, EU, and other country’s anti-monopoly laws.

    Over time the USA and EU, supposedly in support of Open Skies policies, began to give airline groups waivers or immunity from its anti-monopoly (e,g, collusion, price fixing, etc.) laws. Today you have TransAtlantic Joint Venture Groups for:
    (1) Delta – Air France – KLM (and to some extent with Alitalia)
    (2) United, Lufthansa, and several airlines owned or controlled by Lufthansa Group (i.e. Swiss, Austrian, Brussels Airlines,) and Air Canada (blocked by CA courts)
    (3) American, British Airways and Iberia

    With JVs, the airlines can set the flight schedules (and capacity) so that they mesh together better. They can coordinate pricing more closely, They share sales regardless which airline sells the ticket. In other words, it is as if they operate the TransAtlantic flights TOGETHER. Today the fare from Point A in the USA to Point B in Europe is mostly the same within a JV. (That doesn’t look like competition, that’s more like cooperation or collusion.)

    Usually consumers get a price break when supply is more than demand. If all airlines were competing with each other (instead of cooperating), then there will be a tendency for price to be lower simply because of competition. With JVs, an airline may decide to cancel all its flights to a European destination for winter and transfer all their passengers to its JV European partner. With less overall capacity, and with higher load factors, airlines will not need to lower prices. In fact they might increase prices. Of course with codesharing, the airline that cancelled all its flights will still look like they are flying to that European city because they offer their partner flights coded as if it was their own flights (codesharing).

  • http://www.facebook.com/CarverFarrow Carver Clark Farrow

    Question. I wanted to fly from SFO to Athens, Greece. I booked a single AA ticket that went from SFO –> BOS –>LHR –>Athens. The last segment was operated BA.
    From the customer perspective, what’s the practical difference between Interlining and Code Sharing?
    Also, I used miles to upgrade the entire trip to First Class. I assume I couldn’t do that on an interline.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CarverFarrow Carver Clark Farrow

    Honestly, there are a few trolls who just vote down everything. You could say that water is wet and ice is cold and some troll would give a negative vote.

  • http://twitter.com/airlineroute airlineroute

    Yes, you are missing something. DELTA and KLM are both in Skyteam Alliance and participants in the joint-venture program. If you have DELTA with Precision Air of Tanzania or TAAG Angola, then that’s when the “nightmare” kicks in, especially during the “cost-cutting” era, airlines are abandoning/scrapping interline agreement all over the place.

  • http://twitter.com/airlineroute airlineroute

    This is what you missed with your example of AA/BA/IB. In this case it’s joint-venture that kills the competition, not codeshare.

    If UA and US gets antri-trust immunity to start joint-venture program covering domestic market (which will not happen), the example of OMA NYC fare wouldn’t exist because UA and US would price exactly the same fare.

    Looks to me even you got confused with all these interline, codeshare, joint-venture. I do agree that consumers doesn’t 100% benefited from these codeshare and joint-ventures, but what this main article is trying to tell you is no different from what airlines are doing – not telling the other side of the story.

  • TonyA_says

    Read closely. TOOL …

  • TonyA_says

    The sample end points used by Linda were DTW and NBO (via LON).
    I can’t see how Precision AIr (PW) can get inserted in the picture when there was no stop intended for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (DAR).
    No nightmares required for this rather simple route DTW-AMS-NBO.

  • TonyA_says

    Carver, before I answer, is there any reason why you must route via BOS. Why not fly direct to LHR on an AA codeshare or at least via an AA HUB in the USA.

  • TowerRat

    And THAT’S the problem….. I booked with Delta, 1st Leg was on American EAGLE, now I’ve got to figure out if that’s American Airlines, or just another name for a connection carrier. As a 1st Class passenger on Delta (the 2nd leg) I would check in with 3 bags up to 70 lbs for no fee. Since I ended up at American’s check-in, I pay for all 3 bag, and overweights on 2 of them (65lbs ea). 1st bag-$25, 2nd-$35, 3rd-$150, 2 over 50lbs – $100 ea….. a total of $410!

    After facing that I went back to the Delta counter, some conversation later they switched me to a flight out of SFO, and even paid for the transportation around the bay (yes, I have status and they like me).

    And @TonyA, as I pointed out, I am not new at this, IF it had said “Operated by American Airlines” I would have known all of this, it said American Eagle, just as we often see “Operated by Skywest” an operator that flies for multiple airlines, when under United’s flights, they follow United’s rules, under Delta, Delta’s rules.

  • TowerRat

    Did you just try to apply LOGIC to air travel???? Thank you, I can now go about my day with a smile on my face. (oh, and btw, I love the ideas.)

  • http://twitter.com/airlineroute airlineroute

    I did. But my “latest conclusion” is you’re comparing apples and oranges.

  • http://twitter.com/airlineroute airlineroute

    Again you are missing the point that not everyone’s itinerary is going to be as simple as straight forward DTW AMS NBO. Especially these days GDS or come up with combinations that 2 airlines don’t work with one another.

  • TonyA_says

    To “perfect” a JV, the airline must still convince the pax they are buying into the same “airline”. That’s where codesharing is used as a tool.

  • TonyA_says

    Give me a sample of what your GDS (whatever it is you are using) comes up with that has no ticketing and baggage agreement (for the airlines) for DTW-NBO. That is the context of Linda’s example.

    I don’t believe that GDS will put together flights on airlines without interline ticket and baggage agreements UNLESS YOU FORCE IT TO (i.e. Manual Segment Sell). Mine won’t.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CarverFarrow Carver Clark Farrow

    Remember, you asked… ;)

    I simplified the factal scenario for brevity so its not completely accurate. My initial trip was SFO –> LHR. I had a $400 credit voucher on AA. More Importantly, I was executive platinum with American Airlines. That meant I could purchase a cheap $450 round trip ticket and use an electronic upgrade (e-vip) to fly business class for no additional money and no additional taxes. But the e-vip was only good on American metal, not on code shares.

    Later, at the last minute, I decided I wanted to go to Greece. Since I had miles unending, I just burned some miles and bought a first class ticket from LHR to Athens on BA.

    Also, it was my first international flight and I wasn’t about to sit in a seat for 8, 10 or more hours. Boston to LHR was about six hours.

    The JFK -> LHR route is chock full of business travelers hence limiting availability and I try to avoid flying through O’Hare because of its delays. At the time, Boston was a hidden gem for AA. It’s a major city with many flights to other major cities around the world, but for a variety of reasons doesn’t attract as many frequent business travelers as some other cities and hence tended to have much greater award availability.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Wow! Disqus wasn’t behaving yesterday (on my computer), so I didn’t get to see your answer to me. Thank you for such a complete explanation. I saw a lot of what I’ve actually experienced in your answer.
    Weasel-like use of the phrase or not, it still seems like codesharing is how I get out of Omaha when I fly.

  • Barry Moss

    I’ve never had a problem determining which airline I’m actually flying on when purchasing a code share ticket. The information is usually pretty transparent and it’s certainly not a lie. In fact, I would be concerned that you’re treading very close to liable territory there. There are other problems like different luggage policies, not being able to determine how many if any frequent flyer miles you’ll get for the code share, but offering code shares is not in and of itself deceptive.

  • Barry Moss

    Chris, I got most of my points from credit cards as opposed to actually flying. I never made a mileage run. I did get to take a flight from Vancouver to London last year in AC Executive First (not a true first class, but better than most business class seats), something I could never afford just paying cash. Similarly, I’ve got tickets for a trip to Australia next year in executive first. And I grabbed first class tickets on Alaska last year for YVR to LAX for myself and a friend.

  • TonyA_says

    @facebook-1284012132:disqus

    Sorry to give you an essay for an answer. But I think it is a good idea for you to see what a Travel Agent does to game codeshare flights vis-a-vis Fares Basis and rules to come up with the cheapest ticket.

    Suppose you simply want to buy a roundtrip economy class ticket SFO-ATH
    (01NOV-14NOV) on AA or BA. Which one (AA or BA) will be cheaper?

    Let’s start by comparing BASE fares. Note that they are exactly the same.
    SFOATH NLX FARES FOR TRVL 01NOV12 AND TKTG 12SEP
    LN A/L F.B.C. USD OW RT EFF LTK AP MIN/MAX
    1 BA E OLX7Q2Z1 375.00 30AUG12 11OCT12 ## SUN/180
    2 AA E OLX7Q2Z1 375.00 30AUG12 11OCT12 ## SUN/180
    3 BA E QLX7Q2Z1 455.00 30AUG12 11OCT12 ## SUN/180
    4 AA E QLX7Q2Z1 455.00 30AUG12 11OCT12 ## SUN/180
    5 BA E NLXE2NA 551.00 6SEP12 – ## SUN/12M
    7 BA E SLXE2NA 651.00 6SEP12 – ## SUN/12M
    8 AA E SLXE2NA 651.00 6SEP12 – ## SUN/12M
    9 BA E VLXE2NA 751.00 6SEP12 – ## SUN/12M
    10 AA E VLXE2NA 751.00 6SEP12 – ## SUN/12M
    11 BA E LLXE2NA 851.00 6SEP12 – ## SUN/12M
    12 AA E LLXE2NA 851.00 6SEP12 – ## SUN/12M

    This (same fares) is what to expect from 2 airlines on a TransAtlantic Joint
    Venture. So let’s proceed to make real itineraries.

    The cheapest ticket I could do with AA costs $1256.50

    1 AA 892N 01NOV TH SFOORD 1050A 505P/O $ J05 E
    2 AA 86N 01NOV TH ORDLHR 705P 745A#1/X $ J05 E
    3*AA6324S 02NOV FR LHRATH 1220P 600P/O $ E
    4*AA6323N 14NOV WE ATHLHR 900A 1105A/O $ J03 E
    5*AA6190N 14NOV WE LHRSFO 230P 525P/O $ J03 E

    * PRICING RULES VALIDATING CARRIER DEFAULT AA
    TICKET BASE USD TX/FEE USD TKT TTL USD
    ADT01 551.00 705.50 1256.50
    *AS BOOKED
    LOWEST FARE ALREADY BOOKED IN THIS COMPARTMENT
    FBC ADT NLXE2NA

    Note that the flights to London is via ORD.

    If I want to fly direct to London on AA then the ticket price increases to
    $1349.50.

    1*AA6187V 01NOV TH SFOLHR 520P 1035A#1/O $ J02 E
    2*AA6324V 02NOV FR LHRATH 1220P 600P/X $ J02 E
    3*AA6323N 14NOV WE ATHLHR 900A 1105A/O $ J01 E
    4*AA6190N 14NOV WE LHRSFO 230P 525P/X $ J01 E

    * PRICING RULES VALIDATING CARRIER DEFAULT AA
    TICKET BASE USD TX/FEE USD TKT TTL USD
    ADT01 651.00 698.50 1349.50
    *AS BOOKED
    LOWEST FARE ALREADY BOOKED IN THIS COMPARTMENT
    FBC ADT VLXE2NA*NLXE2NA

    Note that this $1349.50 is composed completely of codeshared BA flights.

    But what if you simply bought the same flights from BA, would it be cheaper?
    The answer is YES. The same flights would only cost you $1211.50

    1 BA 284S 01NOV TH SFOLHR 520P 1035A#1/O $ E
    2 BA 632S 02NOV FR LHRATH 1220P 600P/X $ E
    3 BA 631S 14NOV WE ATHLHR 900A 1105A/O $ E
    4 BA 287O 14NOV WE LHRSFO 230P 525P/O $ E

    * PRICING RULES VALIDATING CARRIER DEFAULT BA
    TICKET BASE USD TX/FEE USD TKT TTL USD
    ADT01 513.00 698.50 1211.50
    *AS BOOKED
    LOWEST FARE ALREADY BOOKED IN THIS COMPARTMENT
    FBC ADT SLXE2NA*OLX7Q2Z1

    So why were the AA codeshare flights more expensive if the BASE fares were
    exactly the same for the two airlines?

    It has to do with seat availability on the SAME flights.

    Look at the availability for SFO-LHR on the 1st of Nov.

    CARRIER* 01NOV-TH-5P SFOLHR(QSFLON)PT **
    1*O#BA 284 F7 A2 J9 C9 D9 R. I. W9 SFOLHR 520P1035A#1 744 0E
    E. T. Y9 B9 H9 K9 M9 L9 V9 S4 N. Q. O. G0
    2*O#AA6187 F3 A2 J7 R7 D7 I0 Y7 W2 SFOLHR 520P1035A#1 744 0E
    B7 H7 K7 M7 L7 V1 G0 S0 N0 Q0 O0
    AA6187 OPERATED BY BRITISH AIRWAYS

    BA has 4 (or more) seats left of “S” class. AA has none in S class. The
    cheapest seat on AA will be on V class (1 seat left). Unless you have dying
    desire to buy an AA ticket for a BA-operated flight then you will simply obey
    your wallet and buy a BA ticket.

    Now let’s do little massaging on the AA ticket to take the price down a bit.

    1*AA6187V 01NOV TH SFOLHR 520P 1035A#1/O $ J01 E
    2*AA6324V 02NOV FR LHRATH 1220P 600P/O $ J01 E
    3 BA 631S 14NOV WE ATHLHR 900A 1105A/O $ E
    4*AA6190O 14NOV WE LHRSFO 230P 525P/O $ E

    * PRICING RULES VALIDATING CARRIER DEFAULT AA
    TICKET BASE USD TX/FEE USD TKT TTL USD
    ADT01 563.00 698.50 1261.50
    *AS BOOKED
    LOWEST FARE ALREADY BOOKED IN THIS COMPARTMENT
    FBC ADT VLXE2NA*OLX7Q2Z1

    Note by simply changing the AA codeshared ATH-LHR flight AA6323 to the actual BA flight number, we are able to use a cheaper AA flight from LHR-SFO.
    Why?

    Because AA uses strict married segment logic for its flights. Since the lowest
    available class of AA6323 is N class then that forces one to get N class on
    AA6190 even if there are cheaper class seats available. By replacing the
    ATH-LHR with the BA flight number, then no married segment logic exists. We
    are free the buy the cheapest class available (O) on AA6190.

    So, if you still are a loyal AA fan, you can buy the same BA flights on an AA
    ticket for $1261.50 or 50 bucks more than you would pay BA. This is one case where buying a codeshare costs more.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CarverFarrow Carver Clark Farrow

    I’m trying to understand married logic. Keeping it simple. If I book a flight from SFO –> RDU with connection in DFW. Are you saying that both segments must be in the same class?

  • TonyA_says

    The “simple” definition of married segment logic is that airlines require that flight availability be displayed AND sold only on a complete (original) ORIGIN to (final) DESTINATION (O&D) basis.

    So if the origin is SFO and the (final) destination is RDU, the travel agent must request flight availability as SFO-RDU and not SFO-DFW plus DFW-RDU separately.

    In addition, the travel agent should sell the complete leg and not just individual or partial segments from the O&D availability display. So if I display SFO-RDU I must sell all the segments that make the SFO-RDU journey. I may not pick only the SFO-DFW segment or the DFW-RDU segment on a SFO-RDU O&D display.

    These rules also apply to CANCEL & REBOOK meaning if I had previously created an itinerary based on a married-segment (logic), I may not cancel and rebook one or more of the segments of a married segment without going back and requesting new availability for the whole O&D leg.

    Originally, married segment logic did NOT include codeshared flights, but they do now. See the example I gave about the SFO-ATH roundtrip itinerary with all flight segments are on AA codeshares. Note that both legs were married segments (identified by J01 and J02 codes at the end of the flight descriptions).

    As far as booking class(es) are concerned, you can always sell different classes on each segment even on a married segment logic availability display (for as long as there are available seats on the booking class). However, during autopricing of your itinerary, the fare basis (and its rules) will come in play. Obviously, you must sell the correct booking class that will lead to the LOWEST PRICE (or your client will fire you). Note: There is nothing stopping you from buying Business Class for SFO-DFW and Coach Class for DFW-RDU.

    I need to explain that travel agents use a process that is BACKWARDS compared to the general’s public search process.

    Travel Agent Process (using GDS):
    (1) Display Base Fares and Rules for Origin & Destination pair on Leave (and Return) dates (aka season). Note the cheapest airline fares and their Booking Class hierarchy.
    (2) Search Flight Availability and sell them at the lowest available booking class.
    (3) Autoprice the itinerary and get the TOTAL TICKET PRICE.

    Consumer Process:
    (1) Go to search site, enter Origin and Destination and travel dates, look at TOTAL TICKET PRICE. Done.
    Married Segment Logic is irrelevant to you since you assume the vending machine (or search engine) you used already took it into consideration before they offered you the flights that you can buy.

    Consumers really only see and care about the END PRODUCT. What they don’t (or need to) understand is how the system came up with the TOTAL PRICE. Most consumers never read the rules that come with the fares. All they want to do is get to their destination at the cheapest or low price. But people need to realize that if you D-I-Y your travel planning and ticket purchase, you have become your own travel agent and you must be responsible for your own “work”.

  • http://twitter.com/airlineroute airlineroute

    @TonyA_says:disqus

    1) I’m not specifically using DTW – NBO as my example. I’m just pointing out the issue in general.

    2) The GDS will put together flights on airlines without interline agreement, for instance I can still see Lufthansa – Etihad combination when looking for IAD AUH flight. Lufthansa and Etihad terminated their agreement on 01AUG12

  • http://twitter.com/airlineroute airlineroute

    @TonyA_says:disqus True, but you don’t necessary have to have codeshare under JV, especially intra-Asia and intra-Europe segments.

  • TonyA_says

    My GDS reports that LH says they have NO eticket agreement with EY.
    >4G/TA*LH-EY-E
    NO ELECTRONIC INTERLINE TICKET AGREEMENT *LH-EY

    That said my GDS will NOT DISPLAY an LH operated flight connecting to an EY flight for IAD-AUH.

    However my GDS will display an LH codeshare flight connecting to an EY flight if the operating carrier (i.e. UA) has an interline agreement with EY.

    My GDS also reports that EY says they DO have an interline agreement with LH. Therefore my GDS will display EY flights that connect to a LH operated flight.
    >4G/TA*EY-LH-E
    ELECTRONIC INTERLINE CARRIER AGREEMENT VERIFIED
    *EY/LH

    But anyone selling airline tickets know the above is IRRELEVANT for 2 reasons.

    (1) Even if you succeed in selling LH codeshared flight segments into an itinerary (that have EY connecting flights), as soon as you AUTOPRICE the itinerary, the warning appears:
    TICKETING AGREEMENT DOES NOT EXIST
    LH-EY
    Many travel agents will not proceed further if they cannot issue etickets.

    (2) If you look at the Published Fares (filed with ATPCO)
    by Lufthansa (or even United) from IAD-AUH, all their fares that do not allow MPM routing requires Route # 407.
    Route 407 does NOT allow routing from IAH-AUH using EY on any segment. For LH and UA, MPM routing without Flight Restrictions are only allowed on Full Fare Basis Y and above.
    In other words, even if the Travel Agent is asleep and does not read the WARNING, I don’t think many customers will be willing to pay around $6k for coach on that route.

    The THEORETICAL discussions on codeshares and its imagined or hypothetical effects can go on and on. But the practical effects of codeshares are mainly felt by passengers, travel agents and airline desk agents who have to deal with it day in day out.

    So far the most positive remarks I have read hear is that codeshares allow travelers to earn and use their FF Miles better. It’s hard to argue with that.

    As a travel agent, I find that codeshares just makes my job harder.

  • TonyA_says

    I sell the AA/JL and UA/NH JVs since ASIA is my specialty. Most of my clients (especially Asian-Americans) know how lousy the U.S. airlines are so they insist on taking the Asian carrier’s real flights. IMO, the TransPac JVs really only affect USJPN market from a practical perspective. With or Without Open Skies for the rest of Asia, most US carriers are largely irrelevant over there. In fact, we do have customers (in the East Coast) who will rather fly EK/EY/QR via the Middle East to SE Asia than take a U.S. Airline over the Pacific. Beyond Tokyo, the remnants of Northwest is still our only real player.

    Another thing worth mentioning is that it looks like there is REAL PRICE competition between airlines (and within alliances) if you compare fares to most of Asia. If you take a simple look at US to Europe fares there’s almost no difference between the 3 JV’s fares. To me, it’s smells like collusion.

  • http://bidontravel.com/mobile/index.html Don Nadeau

    Actually, in very many cases, you don’t need to book with United, for example, or use code share flights in order to receive United frequent flyer points. For example, I can book an all Air Canada itinerary with Air Canada and still receive United points.

    Conversely, booking an itinerary to Timbuktu with United won’t earn you United points if the connecting airline is not a participant in United’s frequent flyer program.

    As far as I know, the SINGLE advantage of code share flights is that airlines tend to move gates of connecting flights closer, when an airport design and gate availability permits. For example, at LAX Alaska moved all of its flights to the two Delta concourses because these airlines code share so frequently.

  • BMG4ME

    I am sorry, I rarely disagree with you Chris but on this one I do. It’s not lying, and it does give more choice. Also it’s done in other businesses too, such as my own industry (called OEMing)