Before locking in your summer fare to Europe, see if you can’t find a better deal by searching an airline’s codeshare partners. Airlines use codeshares to sell seats on each other’s planes so they can reach destinations they wouldn’t otherwise serve. Since ticket prices constantly fluctuate, codeshare partners often quote different fares for the exact same flight. Inside, reader Christiana shares how she used codeshares to save almost $300 on a flight to England…
My husband is from England. In researching fares for a possible surprise family visit in a month or so, I had commented to him that Virgin had some good fares in the $800 range – better than I would have expected for his nearly-summer time frame (when fares nomally skyrocket).
Being the industrious guy that he is, however, he checked cheaptickets.com. I’ve used the site before, but haven’t found a deal better through it than I have through Virgin (or BA’s) website. Normally, any cheaper fares involve one or two stops or are on carriers I don’t prefer over VA/BA and the price difference isn’t huge anyway.
Imagine my shock when my husband pointed out what he found (see attached screen captures). I had always noticed that the VA flight I routinely take to and from the UK is cross-listed as a Continental Airlines flight, but I never imagined VA would allow such a price difference. Is this a taxes thing? What gives?
The Continental flight costs $551 all-in. The VA flight? $845 all-in. (And having looked at the VA site’s price matrix, there was nothing around those dates approaching $551 on offer from Virgin.)
Go to England, everyone!
Or am I missing some fine print?
There’s no fine print, but if anything goes wrong, you’ll need to deal with the airline issuing the tickets, not the one flying the plane.
So how do you find codeshares? First, find your desired flight number and punch it into a flight tracking service like Flight Stats. Look for a section breaking out specific codeshares and the flight numbers associated with the other airlines. Then, go to each airline listed and search for the codeshared flight number to compare the price. Once you’ve found the lowest fare, book it and start packing!
(Photo: So Cal Metro)