Airlines use Alliances and Codes-Shares to expand their reach without placing additional planes in the sky. Passengers benefit from alliances and code-shares via baggage handling agreements between airlines, particularly on overseas routes – enabling them to check-in bags at their initial departure point and getting them automatically to their final destination - even if changing terminals & carriers in various countries along the way. They also benefit by being able to accreu and redeem miles on partner carriers.
AIRLINE ALLIANCES DEFINED: Alliance refers to the business agreement between two or more carriers to sharing same flight: If your ticket would state Delta Airlines, operated by Air France, you would be on an Air France plane – in which case Delta is merely the marketing carrier selling seats & promoting routes under its own name. There are three Airline Alliances at present:
SKYTEAM Alliance Members: Aeroflot, Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Czech Airlines, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, Saudi Arabia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines, Xiamen Air.
STAR Alliance Members: Adria Airways, Aegean, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA (All Nippon), Asiana, Austrian, Avianca; Brussels, Copa, Croatia, Egyptair, Ethiopian, EVA Air, LOT Polish , Lufthansa, Scandinavian, Shenzhen, Singapore, South African, Swiss, TAP Portugal, Thai, Turkish, United.
ONEWORLD Alliance Members: American, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, JAL (Japan Airlines), LATAM, Malaysia, Qantas, Qatar, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines, & SriLankan Airlines.
CODE-SHARE GENERAL INFORMATION – ‘Code-Share’ simply means that one physical flight may operate under several flight numbers –facilitating booking, marketing, selling and promoting of routes that are operated by other carriers. A code-share also enables passengers to use airline clubs and using the same boarding practices. Note that your booking details will state below Airline name & flight number “operated by [the airline whose airplane you will be boarding]”, in which case you need to check in your bags with the operating airline – but you book or change a codeshare flight with the non-operating (marketing) airline. Overhead screens in the terminal will show both the marketing and operating airline flights for same gate & departure time.
Code-Share Advantages vs. Disadvantages: (a) Advantage: one-stop reservation & ticketing; coordinated schedules for easier connections; getting extra miles at frequent flyer programs (with exceptions). (b) Disadvantage: operating airline may have different baggage policy and pricing. Most of the major Airlines now have codeshare agreements with other airlines. Here are 4 examples:
1. American Airlines Codeshare: Its home page has a top-right link “About Us” and a sub-link there for “Alliances & Affiliates” indicating Oneworld Alliances and codeshare partners. The codeshare partners listing is linked to the individual code-share airline, which in turn gives you all the information as to codeshare routes & airport connections.
2. Delta Airlines Codeshare: Its codeshare partners are Alaska, GOL, Hawaiian, Olympic, Royal Air Maroc, Virgin Australia, WestJet & SkyTeam Partners (see above) & Delta Connection, Delta Shuttle, Delta Private Jets & Tristar Worldwide Chauffeur Service.
3. Frontier Arlines Codeshare: Its home page has a top-right link “Customer Service” leading to travel support & air partnerships. Its codeshare partners are Frontier Express and Great Lakes Airlines (ZK). It also has so-called “Interline Ticketing Agreements with a number of other airlines.