Picture this; you rock up bright and bushy-tailed to the airport with your luggage packed and ready for your exciting adventure in the skies only to find that instead of a plane with the logo of the carrier you had booked with, you are staring at one of a different carrier.

Wondering why this has happened? You’ve just booked yourself on a codeshare flight. Read on to know why this is a common practice in the aviation industry, and things you have to take note of when booking a codeshare flight.

What is a codeshare flight?

travellers arriving at singapore airport in taxis for their codeshare flight travellers arriving at singapore airport in taxis for their codeshare flight

Codeshare flights offer perks to both travellers and operating carriers, increasing the efficiency and convenience of a preferred airline’s services.

If you’re a budding globetrotter you’ve probably heard the air travel term ‘codesharing’ at least once, but what exactly is a codeshare flight? 

To break it down, a codeshare flight is one in which an operating carrier and its partner carrier market and sell seats on each other’s flights. 

In the airline industry, codesharing agreements involve two or more carriers who market a flight as part of their schedule, sharing that same flight plan as a result. 

This opens up more routes and destinations than the carrier typically would have on their roster without needing to expand their actual plane fleet. Participating airlines will take their cut of the revenue of the tickets sold for those codeshare routes. 

Codesharing is how airlines bypass the strict rules and restrictions when it comes to airspace. These rules typically govern where and where certain airlines are allowed to fly. 

Besides expanding on their existing routes by partnering with regional and international carriers, the affiliated carriers under the codeshare agreement can tap into their respective networks without any added operational expenses caused by airport fees and whatnot.

For example, Singapore Airlines has a range of codeshare partners that can bring travellers to different destinations around the world: Air China to Shanghai and Beijing, Ethiopian Airlines to Addis Ababa via Dubai, Air Canada to Toronto via Frankfurt, and United Airlines through numerous destinations in the United States.

How do codeshare flights work?

view of airplane wing from codeshare international flight view of airplane wing from codeshare international flight

Codesharing flights can be booked as easily as any other international flight, allowing you to seamlessly plan out a single itinerary with ease.

The practice of codesharing is more common than you’d think in the aviation industry. Nearly all airlines participate, or at least have some measure of an agreement in place with partner carriers.

So how do you book a codeshare flight?

You should be able to find a list of partner airlines on the dedicated web page of the carrier you are booking with.

When it comes to getting yourself on a codeshare flight, it’s pretty straightforward. Just search up the routes you want to be on and look for the flights and carriers you want to travel with.

For example, If you’d like to travel to Sao Paulo in Brazil, or Nice in France, Singapore Airlines would bring you to Zurich, Switzerland, which, from there, its own Swiss International airline would take you to these respective destinations with a connecting flight.

What are the benefits of codeshare flights?

travellers waiting for codeshare flight information in an airport travellers waiting for codeshare flight information in an airport

Benefits of codesharing for travellers are usually convenience and flexibility, as passengers can cut down on layovers while increasing the number of flight options available.

Convenience and flexibility are usually what travellers aim for when booking their flights, and that is the biggest selling point of codeshare bookings when it comes to how it benefits the average consumer.

With more available flights, you can opt for bookings that suit your preferred departure and arrival times, and budget. 

Passengers often book these flights on a single ticket and baggage transfer. This reduces the fuss and stress of needing to oversee the details like baggage transfers or conflicting baggage policies between flights in transit.

More than that, in the event of delays, cancellations, and missed connections, you would benefit from having travel insurance to protect you from any financial losses caused.

Depending on your method of booking and which airline alliance governs the codeshare agreement, you may still be able to take advantage of the credit systems and elite statuses. 

Some even go as far as allowing you to earn and redeem miles towards partner carrier flights. For example, if the operating carrier is part of Star Alliance, which Singapore Airlines is a part of, Krisflyer members will be able to enjoy benefits such as priority check-in and boarding, as well as lounge access, depending on the Krisflyer membership tier.

Which airline services take part in codesharing?

airplane entertainment screen on a codeshare booking airplane entertainment screen on a codeshare booking

Singapore Airlines is just one of the many airlines offering codeshare bookings, but you can book a codeshare flight from most airlines operating around the world.

Fortunately, most airlines take part in codesharing.

Singapore Airlines has a longstanding codeshare partnership with 33 partner airlines to offer a greater choice of destinations and convenience of travel. 

For example, passengers flying with Singapore Airlines can travel to Gdansk, Poland, via their codesharing partnership with Lufthansa. Travellers can fly out from Changi Airport and opt to transit in either Munich or Frankfurt. 

As always though, flights and connections to the various destinations offered through these codeshare arrangements may be subject to change. Thus, it’s always good to check with the website of Singapore Airline partners for the specific terms and conditions that cover the Conditions of Carriage on their leg of the journey.

For more information about Singapore Airlines and their codeshare partners, along with the routes they offer, visit their website here.

How can you tell if a flight is a codeshare?

codeshare flight mid air codeshare flight mid air

When you book tickets for a flight, be sure to check the carrier code and whether the flight is ‘operated by’ a specific carrier to see if it’s a codeshare.

The first and easiest way to figure out if a flight is a codeshare is if you are paying attention to the fine print to see the words ‘operated by’ followed by the name of the airline carrier.

Another way is to look for the unique carrier code – a two-character alphanumeric code assigned by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) – followed by the flight number. 

If this doesn’t match up with the code of the carrier you are booking with – just like how AK is the code for AirAsia and MH is for Malaysian Airlines – this will be a giveaway that the flight isn’t being operated by the carrier you are booking with.

If you’re already at the airport, a sign of codeshare flights is when the airline names and flight numbers listed on the flight board at the airport cycle through even when the destination and time details stay the same.

When in doubt, you could always double-check with a customer representative at the counter.

What are the cons of codeshare flights?

traveller looking at arrivals board for codeshare flight traveller looking at arrivals board for codeshare flight

Codeshare flights aren’t all benefits – they have disadvantages too. This can include variations in baggage policies, limited access to airline member benefits, and more.

Passengers on codeshare flights will need to be aware that things like baggage allowances and in-flight services may differ from their regular flight experiences. This means that things like frequent flyer programs, access to airport lounges, or other airline-specific benefits may not be available on codeshare flights. 

Certain privileges like fast-track boarding, mileage-based points accrual, or even priority seating and meals when onboard may also be unavailable on those flights. It’s always good to educate yourself on the specific terms and conditions of partner carriers. That way you can plan to reduce any stress that may come from not being able to tap into these creature comforts.

There will also be a risk of confusion during an emergency.  When things go wrong, you need to know who to deal with. With codeshare flights the lines of who is in charge of what can get blurred. 

With codeshare flights, you’ll also have to take note if your flights have issues that need professional help. For example, Singapore Airlines may handle a Scoot flight due to their partnership, and this could affect things like where passengers go to check in for their flights and who to turn to in case of delays and cancellations. 

When such mishaps happen, just note that the ticketing carrier is the one responsible. This means that whoever’s counter you’re checking in for your flight with is the one responsible for looking after you.

Why book codeshare flights?

travellers at changi airport heading to a codeshare flight travellers at changi airport heading to a codeshare flight

Codeshare flights have their pros and cons – ultimately, what matters most is that your flight choice meets your needs and enables you to have a safe, seamless experience on your travels!

Saving money and opting for specific preferred flight times are pretty big reasons to travel on codesharing flights.

For some routes, the difference in costs can be as big as night and day. Of course, it is important to know where you should be booking for most amounts of savings.

For those who prioritise airline mileage programs and elite statuses when they travel, codesharing flights does not mean giving up on your benefits.

Passengers on certain codeshare flights can enjoy discounts on ticket prices or even airline-specific perks while they travel, depending on the terms and conditions of the route.

Strategically booking codesharing flights means you can use your memberships to still earn miles and gain access to loyalty awards even when you are not flying with the carrier that the loyalty program belongs to. 

 

Codeshare flights are, in a nutshell, what the airline industry does to streamline the travel process for the airlines and the passengers. When decoding codesharing flights, it is important to be as informed about what it is and how it can affect your travels. Codeshare flights can be beneficial to your travels and could be your secret weapon for unlocking hidden travel deals and flexibility.

You must take the time to weigh out every angle of booking a codesharing flight. Depending on the earning structure of the operating airline, and the cost of the ticket, taking a few extra steps can open up a world of opportunities you otherwise may never have had access to before. Would one codeshare flight offer better arrival and connecting times? Or does one codeshare flight offer perks that only one specific airline would give? That’s all in the fun of it. Good luck!

 

For more updates on Changi Airport, follow on FacebookTiktokInstagramTwitterTelegram and YouTube. You can also sign up for a Changi Account and have the latest news and articles delivered right into your inbox.