A Word on Code Share Flights

With my trip to Paris a couple days away, I have been busy packing away and making sure I have all of my travel documents and info in one spot, on my phone. While I was looking up my flight info and talking to my sister, she was really confused as to why I had a Delta ticket, but was flying on KLM Royal Dutch Airline. My answer: it’s a code shared flight. She was royally confused. Never heard of it either? You are not alone?

So What Is a Code Share Flight?

First you need to know that almost every airline in the world is a member of one of the big three airline alliances (Star Alliance, One World, or Sky Teams). Within these alliances, airlines can sell tickets on their partner airlines within the alliance. This allows them to fly you basically anywhere in the world.

Still confused? Let’s use my flight as an example. When I bought my ticket to Paris, I bought my ticket through Delta airlines. My flight has a Delta flight number, ticket number and Delta confirmation code or record locater, however, if you take a closer look, the flight is actually operated by KLM. Because Delta is a partner with KLM, they are able to sell tickets for the KLM flight under the Delta name. Both airlines make money on the deal.

Why Book a Code Share Flight?

I booked my flight knowing it was a code share because Delta was offering the lowest price. There isn’t really a reason not to book it. You just need to be aware of what airlines you are flying with to avoid confusion.

What You Need to Know

If you know you are flying on a code share flight, make sure you visit the website of the airline operating your flight ahead of time. Read through that airline’s baggage rules, meals, seat assignments, etc. They may have a different set of rules and fees than who you bought your ticket through.

Next, ensure you know the record locater or confirmation code for the airline operating your flight. If there are any problems with your flight, you will need this! I can’t stress enough how much time and effort this will save you! When my flight was cancelled in Munich, I was on a KLM ticket, but Delta flight. By having the Delta code, I was able to get my flight rebooked through the Delta twitter account.

How do you get the other record locater? If you do not receive two confirmation codes or record locaters when you book your flight,have the ticket number handy. You should be able to use the ticket number and your name to pull up your flight on the airline’s website operating your flight. If not, it is absolutely worth reaching out to the customer service team ahead of time to obtain it.

Lastly, ensure you have the operating airline’s flight number for your flight in addition to the code share number. A lot of airports will not have the code share flight listed on their arrival or departure screens. For example let’s say my code share flight number is: Delta flight 1234 (DL1234). Googling my flight, I see the operating flight is KLM 4567 (KL4567). When I arrive at the airport, I’ll be looking for KL4567 instead of DL1234.

Hope this helps you! Until next time, happy travels!