web Musings of The Global Traveller

Monday, February 05, 2007


I was recently asked a question about codeshares by a reader of Condé Naste Traveler. One of the things I mentioned in my reply through The Perrin Post column was the importance of knowing the operating airline. It is the operating airline that you deal with for checking in, bags, transfers, etc. The codeshare airline is of no help and may use a different terminal or not even operate out of that airport. Some airports will only announce over the PA or on departure screens the operating airline's flight, not the codeshares (with some flights having 8 or more codeshares who can blame them?).

So how do you know the operating airline? Your travel agent or airline should include the operating airline (and preferably also the operating airline's flight number) in your itinerary. If they haven't then you can use this tool on OAG's website to find the operating airline (eg QF 301 is operated by British Airways). Unfortunately OAG hasn't included the operating airline's flight number, so I'd suggest a second step and look up the airline schedule for the operating airline for your route. OAG has a listing of most airlines' websites.

An easier way (with some interpretation required) is to use Executive Travel Skyguide's free flight search - enter the departure city, arrival city, and date. It will return all the flight options. Your flight, being a codeshare should have an asterisk to indicate the codeshare. Then check the listing immediately above and below that listing for an entry that matches the arrival and departure times (and transit point if relevant). In my example I can see for Bangkok to London Heathrow that QF301 is a codeshare matching operating flight number 10 by British Airways (BA10). Don't worry about matching the aircraft type since the coding used by airlines is not 100% consistent - in this example Qantas uses 744 and British Airways 747. Trust me it is the same aircraft!

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