Q&A :: Code-Share Flights

q&A code share flights + check-inQuestion If you book a code share-flight, where do you check-in? [Have travel questions you want answered? Send us an email and your question could be answered in our Q&A series!]

Answer Checking in If you're on a code-sharing flight, check-in at the operating airline's desk! If you check-in online, do so with the carrier from which you purchased your ticket.

Code-Sharing Code-sharing is ultimately a revenue-sharing agreement allowing airlines to extend their reach into cities outside of their regular routes by selling tickets on a partner's flight. Therefore, there's always an operating and selling/partner carrier(s). For example, let's say there's a flight from Vancouver to San Francisco operated by United, yet Air Canada and Air New Zealand (also Star Alliance members) are also selling tickets under their own flight codes for that flight. This triple code-share flight would have flight codes looking something like: UA102 for United (operating carrier), AC105 for Air Canada and ANZ 229 for Air New Zealand (partner/selling carriers).

Code Sharing Facts

  • airlines don't typically code-share outside of their alliance, for example, Star Alliance or One World
  • the selling and operating airline are required to be disclosed during the purchase process, as well as on your ticket and boarding pass
  • the selling/partner carriers should always be identified on the terminal's status boards and at the gate
  • need to change your itinerary or seat on your code-share flight? This is where things get tricky. Most airlines will suggest you contact the carrier that sold you the ticket, which may or may not be the operator.

Last year when flying from Milan to New York, I booked an Alitalia flight, checked-in at an Alitalia desk, and boarded an Alitalia plane, in other words, Alitalia was the operating airline. I learned after, this flight was apparently a Delta code-share. Upon arriving into JFK, customs would not accept that I was on an Alitalia flight, they wanted me to say Delta, so after a few words, I told them I was on a "Delta" flight. Trip Styler Tip: take note if you see if your flight is a code-share, in case you're asked.

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[image by rocksee]