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Code Shares Cost Difference

I hope somebody might explain to me any drawbacks to buying one ticket rather than another on a code share flight.
I'm looking at flights to Italy next summer.
Particularly, an Alitalia flight (SDF-VCE & FCO-SDF August/Sept 2020) operated in both directions by Delta, where the Delta ticket is $470 more ($1330 to Alitalia's $894 price tag).

I can kind of understand if the flights are operated by different companies. But if it's Delta aircraft, what am I missing as a negative to buying through Alitalia rather than paying Delta?

Posted by
4701 posts

May be harder to get advance seat assignment? Lower mileage award? Poor administrative operations by a troubled (in the past, at least) National Airline?

I frequently buy Lufthansa code-shares with United, especially if I have a second segment with Lufthansa or its commuter divisions. It does save dollars or miles.

Posted by
17089 posts

I've observed differences in cases like that, but I've never seen such a large one. Be sure you comparing apples to apples--is one of those tickets regular economy (usually including one checked bag and perhaps selection of a regular-economy seat) and the other economy basic which gets you nothing except the right to step onto the plane?

Posted by
4481 posts

There are simply lower fare buckets still unsold with Alitalia than there is with Delta.

I've seen this difference with code shares be over 100%.

It can get more awkward with code shares during irregular events, such as strikes, bad weather etc and sometimes check-in online doesn't work.

Posted by
2567 posts

I have seen these code share differences on Delta flights to Paris that are operated by Air France. The Air France price is always higher. I have no idea why. I buy the cheaper ticket whenever I see the difference and have never had a problem. Last year, on one of my trips to Paris the flight was canceled and we were transferred over to one-stop flight on KLM with no issues.

Posted by
4841 posts

Not sure about the case you bring up, but it is likely that Alitalia just has more incentive to offer a lower price. If you are the typical flier, just take the lower fare. If you have a high status with one airline, you may want to consider booking with them unless the difference is huge. My business booked me on Air France to Paris as opposed to Delta to save like $50, yeah the planes were mostly Delta planes (except the transatlantic return) but my Delta app was useless, no upgrades, and a variety of other small things that I have gotten used to. Would have been worth the $50 to book Delta.

Posted by
5544 posts

If both code share airlines are offering identical classes of service it could be that Alitalia has a block space codeshare agreement with Delta. If Alitalia bought too many seats on the flight, and Delta is more successful at ticketing the flight, Alitalia may be trying to dump the seats into the market with very competative prices.

Posted by
3541 posts

Personally I would stay away from Alitalia. Just book on Delta airlines and yes prob pay more. Through the years I have heard horror stories about Alitalia. Booking, luggage etc.
This is my opinion of course but it is my vacation and I do not want any hassles.
Best of luck on your decision.

Posted by
5605 posts

My business booked me on Air France to Paris as opposed to Delta to save like $50, yeah the planes were mostly Delta planes (except the transatlantic return) but my Delta app was useless, no upgrades, and a variety of other small things that I have gotten used to. Would have been worth the $50 to book Delta.

Couldn’t you have just added the AirFrance app? (Regarding the first item)

Posted by
5544 posts

More thoughts on codeshare:

More than the opearating airlines's ap, you need the operating airline's booking code, not just the ticketing airline's booking code.

I have had code share connetion flights where seat assignments for the short hop cannot be selected until 24 hours in advanced. Having the opearting airline's booking code helps get to the seat selection.

On a different note, I had a Swiss Air flight ticketed by United Airlines. Swiss Air would not allow me to select seats until 24 in advance of the flight because I had booked through United.

Posted by
17089 posts

I've had the same situation with a Lufthansa transatlantic flight booked through United. It is stressful not to be sure you can get the type of seat you want (aisle, in my case) until 24 hours before departure. It all worked out, but I think in the future I'll make a point of buying from the operating airline even if it costs somewhat more.

Posted by
4841 posts

Couldn’t you have just added the AirFrance app? (Regarding the first item)

Yes, that was an option, and I could have established myself in Air Frances Frequent Flier program, but adding more apps to my phone for a trip and signing up for more things was just not something I wanted to do. Just a personal choice, I do not like expanding my digital footprint unless necessary.

Posted by
5605 posts

Yes, of course, understood.

I guess the company didn’t find it worth its $50.

Posted by
1217 posts

I could have established myself in Air Frances Frequent Flier program

The Flying Blue program has some hard mile expiration dates that are difficult ot work around. Better to just enter your Delta FF# for that alliance partner ticket and get whatever miles you can from it that ways. And that way, any Sky Team Elite+ status should have mapped over and gotten you international flight lounge and short security line benefits. (Though STE+ isn't as good when it comes to upgrades on domestic legs- I wan to say day of departure only)

Posted by
2788 posts

any drawbacks to buying one ticket rather than another on a code share flight

I have done this many times, buying on continental.com to fly Delta, buying on klm.com to fly Delta, buying on Delta.com to fly KLM. There's absolutely no disadvantage to doing this. Often the local rep for your ticket will not be who you bought the ticket from anyway: In the USA, Delta will handle KLM or Air France ticket issues, in Amsterdam KLM will handle Delta ticket issues, etc.

And yes, I have seen double or higher for delta.com vs klm.com for Delta flights.