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Ibera vs Level for booking from SFO to Barcelona

I’m seeing a huge price difference booking via Ibera vs Level traveling from San Francisco to Barcelona for the same flight/seat/luggage.

Is there a benefit to book directly via Iberia or go the cheaper route of Level.

If I book via Level and the flight is cancelled due to Covid, would I not be covered by Level and would I not have assistance to find another airlines?

Posted by
18752 posts

Level is a low-cost airline owned by the same corporation as Iberia. I have no idea whether you'd end up being put on an Iberia flight if your Level flight was canceled. I would certainly hope so, because Level flies to Barcelona only two days a week (Monday and Thursday), even in July.

Or are you looking at a Level/Iberia codeshare flight operated by Iberia and running a lot more frequently?

Posted by
2695 posts

I've flown on Level and its predecessor on some routes, OpenSkies. As mentioned above, Level is a low-cost carrier and that is the product that you get. I will say that I find Level's seating more comfortable than most low-cost carriers. You should contact Level's customer service to see what they say about booking you on other airlines in the IAG Group in the event your Level flight is canceled. Iberia and Level are part of the same family and some Level flights are actually operated by Iberia but on the other hand it does not really make financial sense for the parent company to treat the two airlines interchangeably. Plus, one would think that given that they are owned by the same parent and flying the same route, if Level flights are canceled due to Covid-19, then Iberia flights would also be canceled so there would be no Iberia flight for you to take.
Are you sure that you are comparing apples to apples on the pricing -- Level has five pricing levels for seats whereas Iberia has only three, economy, premium economy, and business.

Posted by
2537 posts

I would never do business with Level. One person on this forum had Level "lose" her original reservation pre-COVID-19. Standing at the ticket counter with no reservation, she and her companion felt they had little choice but to buy significantly higher-priced day-of-flight tickets. Despite her being on the flight, Level marked her as a "No Show" for the original reservation that had supposedly been lost. The company then refused to refund either set of tickets, even after Elliott Advocacy (a national consumer advocacy organization) got involved. Finally, a complaint to the US Dept of Transportation got her a refund of the original tickets, but not the marked up tickets, which were the tickets that should have been refunded. My opinion: dishonest, disgusting, immoral company.

Original RS Forum post: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/spain/we-were-double-charged-for-our-flights

Elliott Advocacy article: https://chriselliotts.com/i-paid-twice-for-my-tickets-can-i-get-a-level-airlines-refund/

Posted by
18752 posts

Thanks for remembering that, Dave. I do recall the earlier thread, but I had forgotten that Level was the offending airline. It would be a hard "No" for me, too.

Posted by
104 posts

This is a fascinating question to me, an admitted airline dork.

Level isn't technically an operating airline—they're more like a marketing company that uses another company to deliver tier services . That other company being their corporate sibling, Iberia. So on any Level booking, you'll see "Operated by Iberia". Even though the planes say Level, it's corporately registered to Iberia, and the crew is all certified under Iberia.

Level certainly has it's own contract of carriage, fare rules, refund policies, change fees, and such—those should all be easy enough to find. So the question becomes does Level have its own interline agreements, or does it use Iberia's? (Interline agreements are what allows say, Delta to put you on a United flight in case of cancelation. Many low-cost carriers don't have any/many agreements with other carriers.)