Codeshare check in at airports

November 25, 2014

I had two quite different experiences with codeshare flights on my recent trip to NZ and the US.

First experience

My flight from Sydney to Christchurch was listed on the ticket as a Qantas 4-digit flight number, but ‘operated by Emirates’ (I booked the ticket direct through Qantas, so I don’t know why the standard Qantas flight number wasn’t used and why they put me via Emirates). I arrived at Sydney International Airport in plenty of time (just as well). Because I’m a particular status of frequent flyer, I was able to use a premium check in counter, which meant that there was only one other person in front of me (also just as well). I got to the counter and was told by the Qantas agent that I had to check in at the Emirates counter as I was ticketed for Emirates! Nowhere on the Qantas-issued, Qantas-branded e-ticket did it say that I had to check in at another counter, which happened to be at the other end of the terminal. So I took myself to the Emirates counter, and again, because of my frequent flyer status, I was able to check in easily.

But so much of this scenario could have gone horribly wrong. Had I not been so early for my flight, had I waited in the general check-in line at Qantas for 30 minutes or more (not unusual) only to then be told to go to Emirates, and had I then waited in the Emirates line for another 30 minutes, I could well have missed my flight. All because a critical piece of information (i.e. ‘check in at the Emirates counter’) was NOT stated on the ticket.

I sent feedback to Qantas via their website suggesting that they add this critical piece of information to their codeshare tickets. I fly internationally more than many people, but I’d never encountered this before. And for those who fly infrequently, such critical information could mean the difference between catching the plane and not. And could lead to a lot of confusion and frustration both for the passengers and the check-in counter staff. It only requires a few words to be added to the ticket to eliminate this confusion and frustration.

Second experience

My next codeshare flights were in the US. I’d booked American Airline flights via the American Airlines website. However, some of my flights were ‘puddle jumpers’ and American Airlines uses differently branded aircraft for these (e.g. American Eagle). But they make it very clear on the ticket where you are to check in. There is NO confusion. And it’s there in black and white, so passengers can’t complain they weren’t told.


It’s not often I’d praise a US airline over Qantas, but in this case Qantas have made it harder for their passengers and staff by omitting such vital information from their e-tickets.

That’s just bad usability, Qantas.


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