What Does ‘Operated By Another Airline’ Mean For Your Flight?

Have you ever booked a flight only to find out it’s actually being operated by a different airline? Noticing those dreaded words ‘operated by’ on your reservation can spur confusion and questions. This comprehensive guide will explain everything you need to know about what it means when your flight is operated by another airline.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: ‘Operated by’ means an airline is selling tickets for a flight, but another airline is actually operating and staffing the aircraft. This allows airlines to offer more flight options through codesharing agreements.

The Basics of Codeshare Agreements

What is a codeshare agreement?

When you book a flight, you may come across the term “operated by another airline” or “codeshare flight.” But what does it actually mean? In simple terms, a codeshare agreement is a partnership between two or more airlines where they sell seats on each other’s flights under their own airline code.

For example, let’s say you book a flight with Airline A, but it is operated by Airline B. This means that Airline A has an agreement with Airline B, allowing them to sell tickets on that particular flight as if it were their own.

While you may have booked with Airline A, the flight will be operated by Airline B, with their crew and aircraft.

This arrangement allows airlines to expand their route networks and offer more destinations to their passengers without actually flying to those destinations themselves.

Why do airlines codeshare?

Airlines enter into codeshare agreements for several reasons:

  1. Expanded reach: By partnering with other airlines, they can offer flights to destinations they don’t serve directly. This allows them to provide a wider range of options to their customers.
  2. Improved connectivity: Codeshare agreements enable smoother connections between flights. Passengers can book a single ticket and have their baggage checked through to their final destination, even if they need to switch airlines along the way.
  3. Cost savings: Instead of investing in new aircraft and routes, airlines can leverage codeshare agreements to offer flights to new destinations. This is a more cost-effective way to expand their network.
  4. Streamlined operations: Codeshare agreements can help airlines optimize their flight schedules, reduce overlapping routes, and increase overall efficiency.

How to Tell if Your Flight is Codeshared

Look for ‘operated by’ when booking

When booking your flight, one of the key indicators that your flight is codeshared is the phrase “operated by” followed by the name of another airline. This means that although you may have booked your ticket with one airline, the actual flight will be operated by a different airline.

For example, if you book a flight with Airline A, but notice that it is “operated by” Airline B, then your flight is codeshared.

Codesharing agreements are common in the airline industry as they allow airlines to expand their reach and offer more destination options to their passengers. It also helps airlines optimize their flight schedules and improve connectivity between different regions.

Check your reservation confirmation

After booking your flight, you will receive a reservation confirmation. Take a close look at this confirmation to see if there is any mention of another airline. Look for phrases like “operated by” or “flight operated by.” This information will confirm that your flight is indeed codeshared.

It’s essential to be aware of this, as it may affect certain aspects of your journey, such as baggage allowances, check-in procedures, and loyalty program benefits.

Codeshared flights can offer advantages, such as access to a broader network of destinations and the ability to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles across multiple airlines. However, it’s important to understand the specific terms and conditions associated with your codeshared flight to ensure a smooth travel experience.

Notice the flight number

Another way to determine if your flight is codeshared is by looking at the flight number. Codeshared flights typically have a flight number that is shared between the operating airline and the marketing airline.

For example, if you booked a flight with Airline A, but the flight number starts with the code of Airline B, it indicates that the flight is codeshared.

Keep in mind that codeshared flights can be a positive experience, as they often provide seamless connections, joint loyalty program benefits, and access to lounges. However, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the specific terms and conditions of your codeshared flight to avoid any surprises during your travel.

The Pros and Cons of Codesharing

Potential benefits for travelers

Codesharing, which refers to the practice of one airline operating a flight on behalf of another airline, can offer several advantages for travelers. One of the main benefits is increased connectivity.

Codesharing allows airlines to expand their route networks and offer more destinations to their customers. This means that travelers can access a wider range of flights, even to remote or less served locations.

Another advantage of codesharing is enhanced convenience. When airlines partner up and operate flights on each other’s behalf, it often results in smoother connections and reduced layover times. This means less time spent in airports and more time at the desired destination.

Additionally, codesharing can simplify the booking process, as travelers can purchase a single ticket for a journey that involves multiple airlines.

Codesharing can also provide travelers with access to premium services and benefits. For example, if you are a frequent flyer of one airline, you may be eligible for certain perks, such as priority boarding or access to airport lounges, even when flying on a codeshare flight operated by a partner airline.

This can enhance the overall travel experience and make it more enjoyable for passengers.

Possible drawbacks to look out for

While codesharing offers several advantages, there are also some potential drawbacks that travelers should be aware of. One such drawback is the possibility of confusion or miscommunication. When flying on a codeshare flight, it’s important to be aware of which airline is operating the flight, as this can impact various aspects of the journey, such as baggage policies or loyalty program benefits.

Another potential drawback is the lack of consistency in service quality. Codeshare flights may have different standards and levels of service compared to the airline with which you booked your ticket.

It’s important to manage your expectations and understand that the level of service may vary, especially when traveling with different airlines on a single journey.

Lastly, in some cases, codesharing can lead to limited options for rebooking or changes in case of disruptions or flight cancellations. If your flight is operated by another airline, it may be subject to their policies and procedures, which could be different from the airline you initially booked with.

It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of your ticket and understand the potential limitations that may arise.

Your Rights and Protections on a Codeshare Flight

Your ticket contract is with the marketing airline

When you book a codeshare flight, it’s important to understand that your ticket contract is with the marketing airline, not the operating airline. The marketing airline is the one that sells tickets for the flight, while the operating airline is the one that actually operates the flight.

This means that if you encounter any issues or have any questions about your flight, you should reach out to the marketing airline for assistance.

Compensation for delays or cancellations

If your codeshare flight is delayed or canceled, your rights to compensation and assistance will vary depending on the airline’s policies and the regulations of the country in which the flight is operating.

In general, if the delay or cancellation is due to factors within the airline’s control, such as mechanical issues or crew shortages, you may be entitled to compensation, meals, and accommodation. However, if the delay or cancellation is due to extraordinary circumstances beyond the airline’s control, such as severe weather or air traffic control restrictions, you may not be eligible for compensation.

It’s important to review the terms and conditions of your ticket or contact the marketing airline to understand your rights in case of delays or cancellations. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to carry travel insurance that includes coverage for flight disruptions to provide an extra layer of protection.

Baggage allowances and fees

When traveling on a codeshare flight, the baggage allowances and fees may vary depending on the marketing and operating airlines. It’s common for the marketing airline’s baggage policy to apply, but there may be exceptions or additional fees imposed by the operating airline.

It’s important to review the baggage allowances and fees for your specific codeshare flight. You can usually find this information on the marketing airline’s website or by contacting their customer service. This will help you avoid any surprises or additional expenses at the airport.

Pro tip: Before booking a codeshare flight, it’s a good idea to research both the marketing and operating airlines to understand their reputation for customer service, on-time performance, and baggage policies.

This will help ensure a smoother travel experience and minimize any potential issues that may arise during your journey.

Tips for a Smooth Codeshare Flight

Reconfirm flight details before departure

When you are flying on a codeshare flight, it is important to reconfirm your flight details before your departure. This is because a codeshare flight means that your ticket is issued by one airline, but the flight is actually operated by another airline.

To avoid any last-minute surprises or changes, it is always a good idea to double-check your flight times, departure gates, and any other important information with both the airline that issued your ticket and the airline that will be operating the flight.

By doing so, you can ensure that you have the most up-to-date information and minimize any potential disruptions to your travel plans.

Have both airlines’ contact info

Having the contact information for both airlines involved in your codeshare flight can be extremely helpful, especially in case of any unexpected situations or changes. Make sure to save the customer service numbers for both airlines in your phone or keep them handy in your travel documents.

This way, if you encounter any issues during your journey, you can easily reach out to the relevant airline for assistance. Additionally, having the contact information readily available can save you time and stress if you need to make changes to your reservation or inquire about any specific details related to your flight.

Understand change and cancellation policies

Codeshare flights can have different change and cancellation policies compared to regular flights. It is important to familiarize yourself with these policies before your trip to avoid any unexpected costs or complications.

Some codeshare flights may have restrictions on changes or cancellations, while others may allow more flexibility. Take the time to review the terms and conditions associated with your codeshare flight, including any fees or penalties that may apply.

By understanding the policies in advance, you can make informed decisions and plan accordingly.

Be aware of cabin differences

When you book a codeshare flight, it is essential to be aware of any potential differences in the cabin experience between the airlines involved. Different airlines may have varying levels of service, amenities, and seat configurations.

To avoid any surprises, consider researching the airlines’ websites or reaching out to their customer service to gather information about the cabin experience. This can help you manage your expectations and ensure that you have a comfortable and enjoyable flight.

Double check luggage rules

Each airline may have its own specific rules and regulations when it comes to luggage allowances and restrictions. It is important to double-check the luggage rules for both the airline that issued your ticket and the airline that will be operating the flight.

This includes checking the maximum weight and size limits for both carry-on and checked baggage. By being aware of these rules in advance, you can avoid any potential issues or additional fees at the airport.

If you are unsure about any specific luggage requirements, be sure to reach out to the airlines directly or visit their websites for the most up-to-date information.


Discovering your flight is operated by another airline under a codeshare agreement can prompt confusion and questions. While codesharing has benefits for both airlines and travelers, it does add a layer of complexity to your itinerary.

Following the tips in this guide will help ensure your codeshare flight goes smoothly. Safe travels!

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