This week’s article is based on a recent discovery and conversation I had with an American Airlines agent. For a late summer Iberian peninsula trip, I booked with American Airlines due to lower fares and direct flights at the time. Although those flights were ultimately cancelled, I ended up booking connections through One World (American’s alliance) hubs. This included Madrid on the way out, connecting with Iberia, and London Heathrow on the return on British Airways.
A couple weeks before departure, I checked on the flights to make sure everything was set and ready to go. To my surprise, I found that American had placed us on connecting flights through Miami instead of Madrid, adding more than 4 hours to our total travel time. Unhappy with this change and unable to modify it online, I called American to resolve the issue.
The agent was confused why it appeared on the American website that the Iberia flight from Madrid to Barcelona had been cancelled. She then checked on the Iberia website and found them to still be selling tickets. This meant that although the flight was not cancelled, the codeshare was removed. A codeshare is when one airline gives permission to another airline to sell tickets for their flight, even though the selling airline is not operating the plane.
Both of my codeshare flights had been cancelled and the agent was puzzled when she found that nearly every European codeshare had also disappeared. But it wasn’t just my itinerary, she mentioned that other customers have had similar troubles with American’s European patterns cancelling codeshares.
Although the agent was finally able to pull prime class inventory for the flight and get me confirmed seats, it is important to regularly check your flights, especially flying an airline’s partner on a codeshare. If I hadn’t checked, I would have been left with a big issue when I got to the airport. I’m not sure why European carriers are pulling back their codeshares, but it poses a big problem for anyone trying to purchase flights.
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