All you need to know about code-share flights…
A code-share agreement is an arrangement where two or more airlines share the same flight. A seat can be purchased from an airline on a flight that is actually operated by another airline under a different flight number or code. If airline XX has a code-share agreement with airline YY, your ticket from XX might show “operated by YY”.
All major airlines have one or multiple code-share agreements. There are well-known code-sharing alliances, for example the Star Alliance with (currently) 27 member airlines such as Lufthansa, SAS, Singapore Airlines and Swiss, to name but a few.
Code-share agreements are an important detail if you are flying into the EU and it comes to eligibility according to EU Regulation 261/2004.
A necessary precondition for flights into the EU to become eligible (e.g. when delayed for more than three hours) is that they are operated by an EU carrier.
But does that mean you have to hold a ticket from an EU carrier?
The answer is NO, and that’s where code-sharing comes into play. Let’s assume you are flying from the US to the EU and have a Delta Air Lines ticket, so the flight number on your ticket is DL1234, for example.
Let’s assume further the arrival of your flight is delayed for more than three hours. Is your flight eligible?
It depends: If the flight was OPERATED by Delta, NO (because Delta is not an EU carrier). But Delta has a code-share agreement with, for example, Air France, a well-known EU carrier. So if your ticket shows “operated by Air France”, then your ticket is a code-share ticket and your flight IS eligible.
That is good news for you, the air traveller: you can stay with your favourite domestic airline (say in the US: Delta, AA, UA, US Airways, etc.) when flying to the EU. You can book your ticket with them, but make sure you are on a code-share flight OPERATED by one of their EU partners, just in case you get delayed and want to file a claim based on EU Regulation 261/2004.
As you can see, the small code-share print “operated by…” can mean a compensation claim under EU Regulation 261/2004, so it’s worth paying attention to this detail.
Needless to say, refund.me checks everything for you: