14.08.2019

Codeshare flights: How to claim compensation?

Have you ever been on a codeshare flight? Chances are that you have been. Because it’s a common practice nowadays for airlines to cooperate and share a flight. But what happens if something goes wrong? Who’s gonna be held responsible if the flight is delayed or cancelled? What are your rights on codeshare flights?

If you have ever paid a closer attention to information shown on flight information screens at the airport, you have probably noticed it. That sometimes multiple flights depart at the same time and from the same gate. No, that doesn’t mean that there will be several flights departing to the same destination at the same time and from the same gate.

Because that simply would not be impossible.

It just means that it’s a codeshare flight.

Or simply a flight that’s shared between two or more airlines.

Have you ever noticed a print “flight operated by” on your boarding pass? Don’t worry - you haven’t made a mistake. Everything’s correct. It’s the flight you have booked. But despite the fact that you booked it from Air France, you may now have to fly with KLM. If that’s what your ticket says.

That’s just how it works now.

Let’s get more into details now! What does it mean for you?

Girl at the airport

1. My flight was delayed / cancelled. Who’s responsible?

First of all - what airline did you fly with?

Why it’s important? Because that’s the airline that will be held responsible. If you booked your flight from Qatar Airways, but it was operated by airBaltic (you flew in an airBaltic aircraft) - airBaltic is gonna be held responsible.

Could you be entitled to compensation?

- Yes, if your flight was delayed for more than 3 hours, and it was due to the airline’s fault.

- Yes, if your flight was cancelled because of the airline’s fault, and you were informed about the cancellation less than 14 days in advance.

Does it apply to all flights?

Everything is very simple here.

Was it a European or non-European airline that you flew with?

If it was a European airline, these rules apply to all it’s flights to, from or within Europe*.

If it was a non-European airline, the following applies to all it’s flights from or within Europe*.

*In this case, Europe means all EU Member States and Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, Mayotte, Saint Martin (French Antilles), the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.

Question marks road signs

1.1 How to claim compensation?

How to claim compensation for delayed flight? Or for cancellation?

Here are two of the best options you have:

1. You can try and do it on your own. Go to the website of the airline, find the right form, fill it, submit all the information they are asking for and wait. In some situations they will get back to you soon afterwards, in other - you will have to remind about your claim. Be prepared, that it takes a while.

Contact us, if you’ll need legal advice.

2. You can also take the shortcut.

Register your flight online at refundor.com. We will do the rest.

  1. Go to this page on our website;
  2. Fill in the details about yourself and your flight delay or cancellation;
  3. Upload your boarding pass;
  4. Sign the claim online.

And… that’s it.

We’ll take it from here.

Remember - the airline operating the flight is the one you’ll be claiming your compensation from. Not the airline you bought your flight from.

1.2 What if you miss a connecting flight?

If it was a connecting flight booked from one airline, you’re protected.

If the first flight of your journey is delayed and because of that you have missed your connecting flight, the marketing airline is responsible for booking you into the next available flight for free. If that has happened, contact the airline you booked your flight from.

See also our guide - What to do if your flight is delayed?

Airport information screen

2. What is a codeshare agreement?

A codeshare agreement, or a code share flight, is an arrangement where two or more airlines share the same flight.

It’s a common practice for airlines to cooperate and share a flight.

In a codeshare agreement, there’s the Marketing Airline and the Operating Airline. Marketing carrier is the airline which sells a connecting flight (another airline’s flight) as its own, but the operating carrier is an airline that operates the flight.

Codeshare agreement is a win-win situation, both for the companies and passengers.

How so?

For instance, if KLM can’t fill their flights, they can partner with other airline, to share one flight. Thus, the aircraft doesn’t fly half empty, and the company doesn’t experience a huge loss.

In this way company avoids loss and offers another company to earn more money because there’s one more destination for them. It also helps the other airline: codeshare agreement increases frequency of flights and number of destinations. As well as reduced operational costs and more profit.

More destinations = happier passengers.

It’s also easier for passengers. Thanks to codeshare agreements between the airlines, passengers can book direct flights under one booking reference. There’s no need to make two separate bookings. Not only it provides clearer routing for the customer, but it’s also less time consuming, as a passenger doesn’t need to search for the next flight (self connecting flight).

Flight information screens at the airport

3. How it all began?

The history of codeshare flights dates back to late 1960s, but the term was invented in late 1980s by Qantas and American Airlines.

The two companies provided their first codeshare flights between Australian and U.S. cities. 

Since then code sharing has become widespread. Most of the major airlines today have code sharing agreements.

Code sharing is also an important aspect of airline alliances.

4. Codeshare types

There are three types of codeshare agreements:

  1. Free flow codeshare - one of the most common types of code share. Airlines sell other carrier’s flights as its own.
  2. Block space codeshare - the operating carrier sells a fixed number of seats to the marketing carrier.
  3. Capped free flow - airlines sell other carrier’s flights as its own, but there’s a maximum number of seats that can be sold by the airlines participating in the codeshare.

Inside the airport

5. Codeshare flights and luggage

Your baggage allowance is stated on the ticket.

Usually the baggage regulations of the airline under whose flight number this route was booked, apply. Also baggage regulations of the most significant route of the itinerary can apply. Check airlines’ webpage, just to be sure.

The carry-on baggage regulations comply with operating carrier’s carry-on baggage rules. For instance, your first flight is an Aeroflot flight, but your second flight is operated by airBaltic. The carry-on baggage regulations of the first flight comply with Aeroflot's carry-on baggage rules, and those of the second flight comply with airBaltic’s carry-on baggage rules.

Will your luggage will be checked through to your destination?

Check airlines' webpages to find out. If you can’t find information on checked luggage and code share flights, the easiest way to find out is contact the one of the airlines. Also when checking luggage in at the airport, you’ll be notified if you need to collect it and recheck it.

Happy travels!


Remember - whenever your flight is delayed, cancelled or you've been denied boarding - you might be entitled to flight compensation. Contact us to get it sorted out right away!