Navigating code-share tickets

This item appears on page 58 of the April 2009 issue.

In the letter “Weak Link re Code-share Tickets” (Feb. ’09, pg. 30), the writer’s problem with code-share tickets and seat assignment confirmations is by no means unique. Also, with a code-share ticket, unless you are paying attention you could go to the wrong airline to catch the flight. I offer the following guidance to prevent such occurrences.

Whenever a code-share ticket is involved, one needs to take the following steps (I will use the example given above, i.e., Orbitz + United + Air New Zealand):

Call the airline on which the ticket is issued, which in this case is United. Identify yourself using the confirmation number on your e-mail. This confirmation number is probably that of Orbitz and might mean nothing to United.

In this case, they will find your reservation under your name, flight time and date.

Ask United to give you their confirmation number (the PNR, or Passenger Record Locator).

Then ask them to confirm the flight details and seat request.

Ask United to confirm that the flight will be operated by Air New Zealand and request their Air New Zealand flight number.

At this point, you are now certain that you have to go to Air New Zealand (and not United) to board the flight.

Now call Air New Zealand.

The United PNR (confirmation number) will not work for Air New Zealand, so give them your name and flight details and, hopefully, they will be able to pull up your booking.

Now ask Air New Zealand for their (Air New Zealand’s) PNR.

Confirm all your flight details with them and find out which terminal their flight leaves from.

From now on, all your dealings should be with Air New Zealand, so if Orbitz sends you a time or flight change, call Air New Zealand and identify your booking with their PNR and verify the information received from Orbitz.


San Rafael, CA