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What is a Codeshare Flight? A Comprehensive Guide for Travelers


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What is a codeshare flight? And why such flights are so important?

If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ve probably come across the term “codeshare flight” at some point. It’s a common industry practice that allows airlines to sell tickets on each other’s flights, making it possible for passengers to travel to destinations that might not be served by their preferred airline. But what exactly is a codeshare flight, and how does it work? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about codeshare flights.

Did you miss a connecting flight? File a compensation claim online.

ANA Japan Airlines

What is a Codeshare Flight?

What does codeshare flight mean?

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about codeshare flights, including why they exist, how they benefit airlines and passengers alike, and what to keep in mind when booking your next trip.

1. What is a Codeshare Agreement and a Codeshare Flight?

A codeshare agreement is collaborative partnership between two or more airlines.

This agreement allows them to market and sell tickets for each other’s flights. It enables airlines with different flight numbers to share the same route or destination, providing customers with a wider range of travel options. Typically, airlines involved in a codeshare agreement have a commercial partnership and may operate from different bases.

A codeshare flight is one that is marketed by one airline but operated by another.

Two or more airlines, usually from different countries, agree to share the same flight and split the revenue. When you book a codeshare flight, you book with one airline, but your flight may be operated by one or more different airlines. 

What is a codeshare flight? Simply put, a codeshare flight is one which is operated by one airline but marketed and sold by another. For instance, you might have booked a ticket with United Airlines, but the flight is operated by Lufthansa. In such a case, the flight is a codeshare flight.

2. Why Do Airlines Codeshare?

Airlines codeshare for several reasons.

First, codesharing helps airlines expand their network and reach destinations they would not be able to serve themselves. For example, a small airline may partner up with a larger airline, which has a more extensive network.

Second, codesharing allows the partner airlines to share the costs of operating flights, reducing the financial risk.

Finally, codesharing enables airlines to offer more frequent flights, easier connections, and more destinations to their passengers, which is crucial for business travelers.

3. What Are the Benefits of Codeshare Flights for Passengers?

Codeshare flights have numerous advantages for travelers.

Codesharing often results in more efficient connections, which is especially useful for long-haul flights and connecting flights.

Codesharing also enables airlines to offer more frequent flights, easier connections, and more destinations to their passengers.

4. Are There Any Drawbacks to Codeshare Flights?

As with everything in life, there are always potential drawbacks. 

When you book a codeshare flight, you’re essentially flying with multiple airlines.

However, it’s important to note that the level of service you receive can vary between them. While one airline may have excellent service standards, their codeshare partner may not meet those same high standards. As a result, passengers may encounter differences in amenities, onboard services, and customer service experiences that can lead to an inconsistent travel experience.

Baggage handling can sometimes be more complicated with codeshare flights. Each airline may have different baggage policies, including weight limits, size restrictions, and fees. It’s important to be aware of the specific baggage rules for both the operating carrier and the marketing carrier to avoid surprises or extra charges.

In the case of a codeshare flight, the operating carrier retains primary control over the aircraft, crew, and operational decisions. As a result, if there are any disruptions or irregular operations, the policies and procedures of the operating carrier will determine how the situation is handled. This could lead to different outcomes compared to if you were flying on the marketing carrier’s own flight.

It’s important to keep this in mind when booking your trip so that you’re aware of which airline has control over the flight you’re taking.

Woman looking at a flying plane
Plane spotting at the southern end of Mai Khao Beach, Phuket

5. How to Tell if You’re on a Codeshare Flight?

To determine if a flight is a codeshare, check the booking website or airline’s official website.

The results usually show the airline operating the flight. Look for any indications that the flight is operated by a different airline, such as a different flight number or logo mentioned in the flight details.

Once you have selected a specific flight, examine the flight details. Look for phrases like “Operated by [Airline Name]” on the booking confirmation page or e-ticket. 

International Air Transport Association (IATA) has implemented a standard set of two-letter airline designators that always identifies the actual operating carrier.

If you have booked the flight already, review your flight itinerary or confirmation email. The airline operating the flight may also be mentioned on the itinerary, typically as “Operated by [Airline Name].” If the flight is operated by a different airline than the one you initially searched for, it’s a codeshare flight.

6. Codeshare and Connecting Flights

It is possible to have a connecting flight with different airlines.

Because it is common for code sharing airlines to offer connecting flights.

If you have booked a connecting flight through the airline’s website, especially if it’s a traditional airline, it may be operated by more than one airline. A part of your connecting flight may be operated by the airline’s partner. In some cases, whole journey may be operated by another airline.

Codesharing typically guarantees that passengers will get connecting flights on one ticket. This means that if anything goes wrong with a connecting flight, like being delayed, missed, or canceled due to an operational hiccup, the airlines should arrange the best possible option for the passenger. If a carrier refuses to cooperate about a codeshare agreement complication, it’s always recommended to contact the airline that issued the ticket (i.e., the “marketing airline).

If you miss your connection, you are the right to a new flight at no extra cost. In addition to that, you may have a right to care.

If you believe that you are entitled to flight compensation because of flight disruption, contact the airline that operated the flight. 

7. How to Book a Codeshare Flight?

Booking a codeshare flight is no different from booking any other flight.

To book a codeshare flight, you can start by searching for flights on either airline’s website or through a travel aggregator like Expedia or Kiwi. When you find a codeshare flight, you’ll see multiple flight numbers listed, one for each airline involved in the partnership.

If you are searching for flight using a travel aggregator, make sure it’s a connecting flight, not a self-transfer flight. Codeshare rules do not apply to self-transfer journeys, and airlines do not have agreements for these kinds of journeys. Self-transfer journeys are typically arranged by aggregators or passengers themselves, where passengers bear the responsibility of making the necessary connections independently.

When booking a codeshare flight, be sure to check which airline is operating the flight and which airline is marketing it. This will help you understand which airline’s policies and procedures will apply during your journey.

8. Codeshare Flight Baggage Policy

The codeshare flight’s baggage policy is usually established by the operating airline, which is the one responsible for the physical operation of the flight.

To find out about the permissible weight, dimensions, and any additional fees or constraints, passengers must check the baggage policy of the operating airline.

8.1 Codeshare Flight Baggage Transfer

With connecting flights it’s super simple.

In this case, the airline takes care of your checked baggage. Even if it’s a codeshare flight.

You check in baggage once, at the airport of departure, and then you collect it at your final destination. Only in rare exceptions, you have to collect and recheck baggage between flights. One such example is when traveling through the US. Everyone has to recheck baggage in the US.

It’s the same on flights with different airlines.

Read more: Connecting Flight Baggage Transfer: Different Airlines

8.2 What Happens in Case of Baggage Loss or Delay?

If you are faced with the annoying situation of your baggage being lost or delayed, you should immediately report the same to the airline you are traveling with, and not the marketing airline. 

This is because the operating airline takes responsibility for baggage handling at all ports.

9. Codeshare Flight Online Check In

You may not be able to check in for a codeshare flight online.

Especially if it’s a connecting flight with different airlines. You may need to go to a check in desk at the airport.

This is because airlines use different reservation systems and platforms, which may not always integrate seamlessly. As a result, online check-in systems may not support flights involving multiple airlines, making it necessary to check in at the airport.

Codeshare Flights: The Bottom Line

What is a codeshare flight?

Simply put, a codeshare flight is one which is operated by one airline but marketed and sold by another.

In conclusion, there are pros and cons to code share flights, but it is essential to recognize that they play a crucial role in the aviation industry. If you’re looking to book a codeshare flight, it is crucial to research carefully, know your rights, and make sure you understand what you’re paying for.

Codesharing allows airlines to offer more flights, more destinations, and better connections to passengers, enhancing the travel experience.

Understanding what codesharing is and how it works is vital to make informed and sound travel decisions.

Do you have more questions about codeshare flights? Ask in the comments.

Featured photo by ao tak from Pexels

About the author:

Co-founder and Editor at Connecting Flights Guide

Una is an organized globetrotter and foodie who’s been living a digital nomad lifestyle since 2013. She always starts her day early with a good book before diving into work. Apart from traveling and aviation, her other passions include gym, hiking and cycling. Una is also a strong proponent of AI technology. She firmly believes in its potential to simplify life and has often advocated for its wider adoption in our day-to-day activities. Her favorite airlines are Qatar Airways, Emirates, and KLM.


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This article may contain compensated links. Learn more in our disclaimer.

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