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A couple more flight questions

Hi folks!

What does it mean when it says a flight is "Air France" but it is "operated by Delta"? I've never heard of this before.

Also, I'm surfing around on TravelZoo, recommended to me by a friend. I put in a search for a flight from Philadelphia to London next May, and came up with RT of $339 thru something called Student Universe. I am not only staff at a college but a student. However, I haven't seen plane ticket prices like that one since the Reagan administration.

Is this price too good to be true? Anyone have experience with Student Universe? (or TravelZoo, for that matter)?

I'm sorry if these are silly questions. I just feel a bit out of my league. I don't know what a "good price" for a RT trip to England is. I was planning to fly out of NYC or Newark but a friend suggested Philly (I live in Pennsylvania). I'm noticing those flights from Philly have layovers in other cities. I would prefer to fly nonstop.

Thanks!!

Posted by
2183 posts

The ticket is sold by AIr France. The actual flight is on the aircraft one of their partners, in this case, Delta.Their machine, their crew, their rules re baggage, seating, etc.

That price is too good to be true. I tried duplicating it, can't, lowest would be upper $700 PHL-London RT. I did have some experience with Student Universe with a son in college a couple years ago, no problems. But not a 50% discount. If you really see that price with actual flights through them, a grab it. IIRC, you have to be registered with Student Universe or such. TravelZoo is just one of many online travel agents who consolidate tickets and pass them on, but at prices generally no better than getting tickets direct from the airlines. If a problem arises at any point, you can be stuck as the airline will not help you as they did not sell the ticket to you.

There are direct Philly to London flights via British Air and American Airlines. If you are closer to Newark or JFK, it should cost a little less to fly out of there than Philly, and you get more options, for example, Virgin Atlantic. For a good idea of fares, plug your dates into https://matrix.itasoftware.com/ and do trials of PHL to London, Newark to London, and JFK to London. Fares will generally be cheaper flying both legs on Monday through Wednesday.

Posted by
518 posts

Whenever you see "operated by..." it means the actual plane you'll be flying on is from that particular carrier. In your case, even though your plane ticket is being purchased from and issued by Air France, with an Air France booking confirmation number, the plane itself will be a Delta Airlines plane, operated by Delta crew.

The important thing to keep in mind is that whenever you find yourself in this situation, you have to remember that there are now two parties involved: the party that issued your ticket (Air France) and the party that is operating the plane (Delta). This is important because sometimes the party that is issuing the ticket may not be able to help you with items specifically relating to the physical flight, say, meal requests, seat assignments, etc. For that you may need to contact Delta directly. Likewise, if you need to make changes to the ticket, including dates and route changes, you will need to contact that party that issued the ticket, in your case, Air France. Also, keep in mind that because the booking confirmation number that Air France issues is a number that is specific to Air France. Delta will not recognize this number. Instead, Delta will have a different booking number for this flight.

As an example, I flew from San Francisco to Rome last year on Lufthansa (Lufthansa plane) but the ticket was purchased through United. United was unable to help me with seat selection and I needed to contact Lufthansa directly. My reservation on the United website provided both the United booking confirmation number and the Lufthansa booking confirmation number. Keep both handy depending on which party you need to speak with.

Posted by
491 posts

Thank you very much!
I am equidistant from Newark and from Philly. NYC/JFK is a bit further away. I only flew out of there once, in 1984, and I took a commuter flight ("puddle jumper") from my local airport, somethign I probably would not do again!

Posted by
518 posts

Ditto what Larry said regarding too good to be true. With super low fares coming from online retailers/agents, it's best to double check with the air carrier, even after you've made the purchase, just to further confirm your flight. Ultimately if there is a problem from the booking end, such as the wrong flight was booked, it's the online retailer that would be accountable, not the airlines.

Posted by
2183 posts

SandraL - We live just outside Philly in Cheltenham, and twice we have found it worth our effort (appx $150 total for 2 tickets along with better flights) to fly out of Newark and have one of our kids drive us there. Essentially 110 extra miles driving total, no tolls. Both times though we returned to Philly. I believe it's the exit taxes at PHL. I think if I was between the two airports I would use Newark regularly. Try the searching I suggested earlier,

Posted by
518 posts

Sometimes it's not so much the duration of your stay that affects the price, it's the day of the week or the date that you're flying. For example, it's more expensive to fly on weekends (because those are popular days) than on weekdays. If I want to go to London for one week (7 days), it might be more expensive to leave on a Saturday and return the following Saturday vs. leaving on a Wednesday and returning the following Wednesday.