Picture it: you’re at the airport, looking at the departures board and strangely, there’s five flights heading to the same destination at exactly the same time. Coincidence? Not really. It’s most probably part of the wonderful and carefully crafted world of codeshares.
Codeshare is a phrase used by airlines to describe a level of behind-the-scenes interaction that is designed to make complex international journeys a bit easier.
Literally, it refers to an airline putting its “code” on another carrier’s flight. For instance, Qantas’ code is QF and Emirates’ code is EK. So when you’re looking at the departures board and QF435 from Sydney to Melbourne also flashes up as EK5435, that’s a Qantas flight with an Emirates codeshare. (Most codeshares are four digits.)
In practical terms for passengers, it means:
- Your bags will be checked through to your final destination, rather than having to collect them in the middle and check-in again for your next flight (mostly, there are some exceptions for security and/or customs reasons)
- You earn maximum frequent flyer points as if you were on a Qantas flight despite the fact you’re flying on a different airline (e.g. China Eastern rather than Qantas)
- You can access the other airline’s lounge in a far flung port in the same way you’d use a Qantas lounge here in Australia (if you’re eligible for lounge access).
There is a lot of work behind the scenes that make all of this possible. And there is often a commission attached to the revenue generated by the marketing carrier.
Essentially, codeshare is how airlines can offer travellers a much wider list of destinations than they actually fly to themselves. And it means rather than you having to make several different bookings with various airlines to get somewhere, you can have a single booking and itinerary with one airline.
Qantas’ codeshare agreements mean our customers can fly to more than 250 destinations globally, complementing the 81 Qantas destinations around Australia and overseas.
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