What is Code Sharing

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» Posted by on Sep 23, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

Ever get to the airport and think you are flying with one airline, but when you get to the airline counter they tell you to check in with a different airline?  If so, you have probably experienced Code Sharing.

 Code sharing is an agreement between airlines allowing the sale of seats by a partner airline on another airline’s flight as if the flight was their own.  This allows airlines to extend into cities or routes beyond those they actually serve.  The airline providing the plane, crew and ground handling services is call the operating carrier.  The airline selling tickets for the flight but not actually operating it is called the marketing or validating carrier.

 The following scenario would be an example of code sharing.  You booked a flight on Delta Airlines to fly from Boston, MA to Columbus, OH.  Of course you don’t know Delta Airlines does not actually fly from Boston to Columbus.  Delta Airlines has partnered with another airline such as Chautauqua Airlines which has a flight from Boston to Columbus.  Your ticket will show Delta Airlines and the flight number, but it will say operated by Chautauqua Airlines.  You will check in with Chautauqua Airlines and fly on their plane.

 To make it even more confusing, American Airlines and United Airlines may also partner with Chautauqua Airlines for the Boston, MA to Columbus, OH flight.  You could have booked the same flight through Delta Airlines, American Airlines or United Airlines and flew on Chautauqua Airlines.  The price of the same flight may also be different depending upon who you booked the flight through.  The reason for this is that each airline sets its own price in a code share situation to preserve the spirit of competition. 

by Dean Cox

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