October 3, 2023

Use the codeshare trick – buy a seat on the same flight via a partner airline for less…much less

Walking onto the plane knowing that you paid much less for your seat than everybody else on board is a great feeling.

This is what smart travel is all about.

By being a little craftier with your bookings, you can stretch your travel money further.

Booking code share flights is a clever way to save cash.

Here’s how it works:

You have a flight in mind that you want to take on Airline A, but the fare is a little more than you’d like to pay. Airline B has a code share arrangement with Airline A but by booking the same flight with Airline B, you save a couple of hundred bucks.

It doesn’t work for every fare, and you have to seek it out but, when you do find them, they’re a great money saver.

If you like flying with a particular airline or know the exact flight you want, ‘codesharing’ could be a way to get a flight with that airline via another one. It’s when airlines buddy up to sell seats on each other’s flights, quite often at a different price.

For example, when we looked in March 2016, we found an American Airlines London to New York return flight in September for £536 if you book via American Airlines. But the same flights booked via American Airline’s partner Finnair cost just £496, saving £40.

Codesharing flights are included in comparison site results, so you’ll find them using the sites above.

You won’t spot them if booking directly with an airline.

It should be clear on the comparison site, e.g., if you book with Virgin, but it’s a Delta flight, it should say so.

This works best on traditional medium or long-haul routes – just book via a partner airline to grab a seat on the same plane for less.

Here’s a Real World Example:

We wanted to fly from Seattle to Dallas-Fort Worth. We had a few options. American, Alaska, Spirit, United and Delta. As you would expect, the prices should be pretty competitive, and therefore cheap.

But this is the airline industry, where different carriers work together.

So for just one second, forget the rival carriers. Will these “teams of airlines” undercut each other?

Hell yes!

AA CodeSahre

Can you see the two flights highlighted in green? This is the same flight, just sold as either American or US Airways.

Same flight, $81 price difference.

The red and orange are again codeshare flights, in both cases flying on US Airways will cost you $298 against the cheaper American for only $228.

Again, same flight, $70 price difference.

How can you use the codeshare cheat to save big?

By using a third party booking website, I found the same flight on a codeshare and had easy pickings when it came to selecting the cheapest flights for us.

Total Cost: $684 for 3 adults.

Same flight.

We saved a total $210 by booking this flight coded as American Airlines instead of US Airways.

This is the beauty about booking code share flights! There are often big discrepancies between the airlines regarding what price you’ll pay. American Airlines might have had a promotion going but US Airways didn’t. Meaning we could snag the seats through American Airlines for a 40% discount!

Tips for Booking Code Share Flights:

Understand which airlines have codeshare arrangements with one another. There are two big air networks – Star Alliance and One World, but there are many smaller partnerships direct between airlines. If you want to book a flight on Qantas, a One World alliance airline, always check for the same flight on British Airways. We saved $300 per person last year on a single trip.

Look at third party booking websites. Some booking site has a preference to show one airline over another meaning they’re more likely to display the code share flight.

Code share flights often come up when booking connecting airfares.

You can spot a code share flight by it’s longer flight code, usually four digits. For example, on the route New York JFK to Paris the Air France flight number is AF23, and the Delta codeshare flight number is DL8601.

Sometimes the case is reversed, and it might be cheaper to book with the operator airline than the code share partner. You might find a flight on a booking website operated through ticketed through Airline B but operated by Airline A. Check on Airline A’s website to see if their flight is cheaper.

Airlines with codeshares:

American Airlines Reservations

Airberlin, Air Tahiti Nui, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, US Airways, British Airways, Cape Air Airlines, Cathay Pacific, EL AL, Etihad Airways, Fiji Airways, Finnair, Gulf Air, Hainan Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Interjet, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Jetstar Airways, Jetstar Japan, LAN Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, OpenSkies, Qantas Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Seaborne Airlines, S7 Airlines, TAM Airlines and WestJet.

British Airways Reservations

Air Baltic, Airberlin, American Airlines, Aer Lingus, Bangkok Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Flybe, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, Loganair, Malaysia Airlines, Meridiana, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines, SriLankan Airlines, TAM Airlines, Vueling Airlines and WestJet.

Delta Reservations

Aeroflot, Aerolineas Argentinas, AeroMexico, AirEuropa, Air France, Alaska Airlines, Alitalia, China Airways, Garuda Indonesia, GOL Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, Olympic Air, Saudia, Vietnam Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia International, Westjet and XiamenAir.

Emirates Reservations

Air Malta, Air Mauritius, Alaska Airlines, Easyjet, Japan Airlines, Jet Airways, JetBlue Airways, Jetstar Airways, Jetstar Asia, Korean Air, Oman Air, Philippine Airlines, Qantas, S7 Airlines, South African Airways, TAP Portugal, Thai Airways International, Valuair and Virgin America.

Lufthansa Reservations

Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air Malta, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Avianca, Blue1, BMI Regional, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Germanwings, JetBlue, Latam Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Luxair, Privatair, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, Taca Airlines, TAM Airlines, TAP Portugal, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, United and US Airways.

Qantas Reservations

Aer Lingus, Aircalin, Air Niugini, Air North, Air Tahiti Nui, Air Vanuatu, Alaska Airlines, Alitalia, American Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Bangkok, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, China Southern, Dragonair, EL AL, Emirates, Fiji Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Jet Airways, Jetstar, LAN Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas Link, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines, South African Airways, Sri Lankan Airlines, TAM, US Airways, and Vietnam Airlines.

Qatar Airways Reservations

American Airlines, Asiana Airlines, AZAL, Bangkok Airways, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, GOL, Japan Airlines, JetBlue, Malaysia Airlines, Middle East Airlines, Oman Air, US Airways and S7 Airlines.

Swiss Air Lines Reservations

Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air France, Air Malta, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Copa Airlines, Edelweiss Air, Egyptair, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, Germanwings, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Swiss Airways, TAP Portugal, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, Ukraine International, United Airlines.

Turkish Airlines Reservations

Adria, Air Astana, Air Canada, Air China, AEGEAN, Air India, Air Kyrgyzstan, Air New Zealand, Air Malta, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Croatia Airlines, Egyptair, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, Garuda Indonesia, Iran Air, JetBlue, Kuwait Airways, Lufthansa, Luxair, Malaysia Airlines, Pakistan International, Oman Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, RwandAir, UIA, SAS, Singapore Airlines, Swiss, Tap Portugal, Thai Airways, United and US Airways.

Virgin Atlantic Reservations

Air China, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Delta Air Lines, Jet Airways, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways and Transaero Airlines.

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Tom Hardie

Hi, I tried a number of the flight comparison websites to look at the worked example and couldn’t find one that worked as shown. Which flight comparison websites are best for this? Thanks. Tom


It can get even more complicated than this: I was flying from UK to Australia in 2019: The best route/duration was Emirates Airline; unfortunately they were not affiliated with my preferred carrier for Frequent Flyer Miles, British Airways, and neither of these airlines was the cheapest: That was Qantas. However, I managed get the best of all worlds: The cheapest ticket; the best route; and the FF miles, by buying Qantas ticket, that was fulfilled my Emirates, and eligible for BA FF points via the One World Alliance.

Simon Masson

I did this a few years ago going from Manchester,UK to Newark via Heathrow. Business class on BA looking on Expedia was nearly £4000 but exactly the same flights on same search booking as Finnair came up at less than £1800


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