Enjoy Your Flight—Operated By An Entirely Different Airline

By: James Flippin · October 05, 2022 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

Code-Sharing Gains Popularity

The airline industry struggled for almost the entirety of the 2020s, due to shutdowns related to COVID-19. Now, to help them keep the lights on (and engines running), airlines are finding creative ways to sell more tickets.

One strategy is called code-sharing. This refers to multiple airlines marketing and selling seats on the same aircraft, while only one airline operates the flight itself. When you see something like, “American Airlines (AAL) flight, operated by JetBlue (JBLU),” that’s code-sharing in action.

Is This Good Or Bad?

For consumers, code-sharing is a double-edged sword.

One upside is the potential for frequent flyers to collect more rewards, given they have access to a broader selection of flights. On the other hand, resolving customer service issues may be more complex. It can be unclear which airline to contact amid delays and cancellations.

In some cases, partner airlines offer cheaper prices than the airline operating the flight. That said, some consumer advocacy groups warn collaboration like this lessens competition and could eventually drive prices up. Be sure to compare flight prices across different booking sites to spot possible discrepancies.​​

What Should You Do?

Code-sharing isn’t inherently bad for passengers—it’s just something to be aware of.

For example, you should be prepared for slightly less accountability on shared flights. For this reason, it could be a good idea to buy traveler’s insurance. This will keep you protected, even when a flight is shared across two airlines.

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