Stranded in China without an airline ticket

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Melissa Sigritz is forced to pay $2,450 to get back home after her airline leaves her stranded in China. Is she entitled to a refund?

Question: I booked a flight from Dayton, Ohio, to Shanghai through US Airways, and things went terribly wrong with my ticket. I need your help.

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The first two of the three segments of my trip from Ohio to China were on United Airlines. The United agent at the Dayton airport had great difficulty printing my boarding passes and eventually informed me that she would have to issue a paper ticket.

When I checked in for my return flight in Shanghai, I was told by agents that I did not have a reservation on the Air Canada flight. I showed the agents my emailed confirmation from US Airways and the agents rudely informed me that there was nothing they could do. When I begged the agents for help their only advice was that I call my travel agent. I explained that I booked the trip myself.

Ultimately, I had to buy a new ticket for the very flight I was confirmed on, at a cost of $2,450. I hated to take this action, but I was essentially stranded in China.

Once I arrived in Toronto a US Airways agent confirmed that I had been booked on the Air Canada flight all along. I have written every airline involved in this problem since then, asking for a refund. But so far US Airways has refunded me only $16.79. What a slap in the face! Can you help me? — Melissa Sigritz, Dayton, Ohio

Answer: In all my years of writing this column, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a codesharing nightmare like yours.

Airline codesharing — which is what you experienced when you booked a US Airways ticket but ended up flying on United and Air Canada — is a common practice with questionable benefits to the passengers. Basically, it allows a carrier like US Airways to sell flights on another airline while claiming them as their own.

US Airways sold you a flight from Dayton to Shanghai, even though it doesn’t fly between Dayton and Shanghai. (Some might call that dishonest, but that’s a discussion for another day.) If it isn’t going to operate the flight, it should at least take responsibility when something goes wrong with that ticket.

I don’t know what the $16.79 check was for, but I would have been offended by it, too. I’d expect a $2,450 credit to appear on my card as soon as I returned home. As I review the correspondence between you, United, Air Canada and US Airways, I find a round of finger-pointing, stalling, and otherwise irresponsible corporate behavior. It seems no one wanted to help you.

I’d like to think that a brief, polite appeal to someone higher up at US Airways would have done the trick, but I’m not at all convinced. One look at the complex problem you had is enough to make anyone’s head spin. Who is really responsible for this ticket, and who should issue the refund?

In the end, I contacted US Airways and it took weeks of back and forth between the airline and Air Canada to figure out what went wrong. But eventually, they did. You’ve received a refund from Air Canada — and an apology from US Airways.

Should refunds on codeshare flights be more closely regulated?

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81 thoughts on “Stranded in China without an airline ticket

  1. I remember coming home for my wedding. I was stationed in Germany so my flight was
    -Frankfurt to Prague on Czech rep air
    -Prague to New York on u.s. airways
    -new York to Milwakee on delta
    -milwakee to Madison on frontier airlines

    I never experinced what the op went through, but every leg of the trip was like walking on egg shells.

    1. We often fly from LAX to Sao Paulo on a Delta codeshare with Korean Air which actually operates the flight. Several flights ago, a Delta rep gave us this hint.

      Always, and I mean always, get the confirmation number from the operating airline. So although we have a confirmation number from Delta, there is another separate and distinct confirmation number on Korean Air. As soon as the trip is booked, we call Korean Air directly and get an e-mail from KAL with the KAL confirmation number.

      If the OP had done this, the problem would have been avoided. They would have either figured out the reservation never made it to Air Canada or the Air Canada gate agent would have been able to find the reservation using the Air Canada confirmation number.

      Thanks to Delta for the great tip for anybody flying a codeshare flight!

  2. Its hard to answer. I’ve been on plenty of international code shares without any incident, so I don’t have a personal frame of reference.

  3. I have always thought that each airline involved in a code-share should have to send a separate confirmation with its own record locater to help avoid the problem the OP experienced in China. So many of us who travel frequently end up on codeshares these days. But I will not book one using an air carrier that does not actually fly its own planes to my destination at different times or on different days. I know that sounds weird but it does make sense. If I book Delta from ATL to CDG I might be on an Air France plane, a company that flies this route daily. But if was booking a nonstop from ATL to CDG and was told it was an Alitalia ticket on a Delta plane I would not purchase that because that is something Alitalia does not do. To me, booking a ticket on a carrier that does not actually fly to a particular destination is asking for trouble as you do not have an airline representative there to help you if or when things go astray. It takes a few minutes more of research to do this. And we should all remember that the least expensive ticket is not always the best choice. Shop around, but be smart about it.

    1. I could not agree more. Great point! I also always try to book the origination flight, or at least a major portion of the flight on the ticketing carrier. I will often find 2 + stops on 3+ carriers for a few dollars less, but I star clear of those. I will book one domestic flight to place me at the international departure point and try to never go with more than 2 carriers.

      Edit: The main reason I wanted to reply. When I book code share, I usually get a separate PNR number for each operating carrier on my receipt. So when I go to each carrier, I have their PNR and they never have a problem. If I am on UA stock flying LH, if I give LH the UA PNR they say there is no reservation, I have to give them the LH PNR.

      1. I was coming here to say the same thing. When I’ve booked codeshare flights, usually on UAL, my itinerary usually has the locator number for the other airlines on the reservation.

  4. I guess I don’t understand the alternative. Let’s say there’s an end to the “dishonest” practice of selling routes that your planes don’t fly. Now the customer has to book additional flights on other multiple airlines, worry about connection times, and have no protection or automatic rebooking if a flight is delayed or otherwise changes schedule.

    In the OP’s case, I don’t think the assumed result should be more regulation per se. Obviously what happened was a terrible black eye for both US Air and Air Canada, as it should be. But I don’t see how regulation can anticipate and prevent what happened and everything like it. I doubt either airline was really hoping to profit off stranding this person somewhere.

    (Yes I know the poll doesn’t necessarily correspond with the story, but this is one that’s pretty obviously aligned)

    1. As a frequent booker and traveler I bet all carriers involved would have offered the same flights as one ticket at different prices. The problem is that two of the carriers actually fly there while the ticket she bought was on an airline with no equipment on that route. Without the OP saying exactly why she bought the ticket that way we can only guess. Being too familiar with how this works I presume she bought the least expensive–often one carrier is enough lower priced to entice the purchase. ( I just looked at a sample itinerary on line this morning I found each carrier offering the same flights at different prices with US Air the lowest) She would not have had to book separate flights with separate tickets. Regulating refunds will not help but regulations preventing an airline from offering a ticket to a destination it actually does not fly to might help. And United should never have issued a paper ticket. Never, ever for this type of itinerary.

      1. I think Backprop meant if code sharing didn’t exist at all we would have to buy multiple separate tickets.

        It sounds like the OP had her reservation ticket by US without ever once being on US metal. While not necessarily a problem, I would avoid it like the plague. I also don’t think UA ever issued a paper ticket, I think the OP is confused and using that term erroneously. What I am guessing happened is she gave the US PNR to UA, and UA couldn’t find it, and UA had to manually find her flight coupon and print it out and then re-ticket her so they could issue a boarding pass. This could be the result of an incompetent agent, the new UA’s antiquated system, or even an error in US Air’s ticketing. I also think the return problem was a result of her giving her US PNR to AC, and AC not finding it and not knowing what to do.

        1. so right on all counts – codesharing per se is not the problem, just ensure you have EACH carrier’s PNR number – a quick call to each airline would ensure that. 🙂

    2. It’d be considerably more hassle, no doubt, but the OP would have had a confirmation from every airline involved, so the airlines would have been looking up their own data.

      In an ideal world, airlines that codeshared would probably be on the same ticketing system which would presumably make things easier. But they’re not and you see airline mergers when even as a combined airline they can’t merge data from the different systems without problems, so it’s not surprising that they sometimes can’t make these codeshares work properly.

    3. You could still interline without codehsares. Which wouldn’t (necessarily) solve the OP’s problem, but which would arguably be more transparent.

      I agree that the main issue here is not codeshares or interlining per se but finger-pointing, accountability, and lousy customer service. Glitches happen, but there needs to be a straightforward, timely process to resolve them.

      Maybe fines against carriers who fail to issue legitimate refunds promptly would help.

  5. I voted yes, but not in that I really want to government’s involvement here. I just want more accountability for these code sharing carriers.
    What I would like to see is:
    1) All Flights that are Code Share Flights must be clearly marked as such in the booking process. Most are currently, so this isn’t such a bid deal.
    2) Once a flight has been booked, a Confirmation Number from each airline must be presented to the customer so that they have something from the company that is actually flying the plane(s) acknowledging they have received their reservation.
    3) In cases where a refund is due, it must come from the carrier that the original ticket was purchased through. In the case above, it was United’s code-sharing issue that caused the customer the have to buy another ticket. In essence, they were acting as his “Travel Agent” here, not a direct carrier. As such, they should’ve refunded him the new ticket cost and then gone after their “partner” for charging him for the ticket in the first place.

    Too many times the customers are put in the middle between the companies involved and it’s not a fair place to be put.

    1. Actually, all three of your points are already the case for code share. Except to your point 3, it was US Air that ticketed the reservation, not United. US Air was the ticketing carrier and was ultimately responsible for the refund. We do not know specifically whose issue caused the OP to have to buy a new ticket.

      I do disagree that US Air was acting as the agent. In this case the OP acted as her own agent.

  6. I rarely say someone deserves a free round trip ticket, but this one takes the cake.
    You know what you should do? Publish the emails showing the go’round with these airlines who obviously are too stupid to realize they screwed up. I wouldn’t even bother blacking out employee names. People need to know who the incompetent losers are in this world.

    1. I’m with you. She deserves WAY more than “We’re sorry” and a refund of monies she never should’ve needed to pay out in the first place. I’d advocate, maybe not for a r/t back to China, but at least a domestic r/t. Her money was tied up for this entire time as well.

  7. At the very least, we need a requirement that codeshares be clearly marked before a self-booking passenger hits the Buy button. I would also never knowingly book a codeshare myself; if this is the only way to reach my destination, I’m in expert territory and need to have the booking done by a travel agent – a real one, not an “online agent.” I wonder if the OP’s problem in setting up the China trip started with not entering some obscure code on the Air Canada site to ensure that both carriers knew about the change of airlines in mid-trip.

    1. They ARE clearly marked. But some folks never bother to contact the actual airlines involved to get their PNR numbers, so have no leg to stand on when another carrier never got the message a space was booked under this name.

  8. I’d sure like to have a better understanding as to why the people in China told her she didn’t have a ticket on the flight. What did US Airways have to say about that?

    However – we’re discussing codeshares, which I don’t believe should be permitted. If I’m buying a ticket on Delta, I expect to see Delta planes at end of my jetway walk. Thus far, I’ve been lucky and never run across a code share, but I don’t always shop for the lowest price, but for the flights that give me better times.

    I can’t help but feel as though the OP might not have run into this had she bought this ticket thru a travel agent, rather than a website, and not been looking for the cheapest fare possible. Spending that extra $100, on a trip like this, really can make a difference.

    1. “I can’t help but feel as though the OP might not have run into this had she bought this ticket thru a travel agent, rather than a website, and not been looking for the cheapest fare possible.”

      I guess I missed the part in the story where the OP booked through an OTA and said she was looking for the cheapest fare. Could you point out where in the story it says that?

      Just because you book through a real live TA in a brick and mortar building doesn’t mean you aren’t looking for the cheapest fare. I have booked with real TAs and they often point out lower fare routes/times to me trying to help me save money.

      1. “When I begged the agents for help their only advice was that I call my travel agent. I explained that I booked the trip myself.”

        While not stating specifically she did it to pay the lowest fare, isn’t that why most people book travel themselves? They believe they are saving money that way.

        1. Do people book with a TA not to pay the lowest fare? I’m sure the TAs on here try to find thier customers the lowest possible fare that meets their needs.

          1. I would hope that those of us who sell airline tickets don’t just shop the price, but also look at the options of flights that would work the best for the client.

          2. Yes, there is a difference, but often DIY’ers don’t consider that when looking on line. Also, not all flights are available online or on an airline’s website. Many avoid contacting us as they think we will cost them, but with our experience, we often save them money, time and frustration.

          3. But people would rather play travel agent and book their own tickets because they “save” a few dollars.

            Not saying at all that real travel agents don’t find the lowest acceptable fare. I prefer paying a bit more to have a TA do the work. Unfortunately it seems most people don’t. And then they end up stuck in China without even a slow boat to get them home. 🙂

          4. This whole thread was based on the claim that the OP wanted the cheapest fare which the story does not support. To me, there is a difference between the cheapest and lowest cost. The cheapest doesn’t take needs into consideration while the lowest cost does. That was all I was trying to get across.

          5. In this day and age, most people think buying “stuff” on the internet, be it an airline ticket or something else, isn’t that hard to do. A click here, a click there, and, hooray, I have a ticket. And, quite frankly, I wouldn’t know where to find a good travel agent these days but, then, I haven’t flown overseas in ages.

          6. Look at ASTA, get feedback from your local Chamber of Commerce, or talk to someone you see who does a lot of travel. Chances are, you should be able to find a good one!

          7. But that really has little to do with what was originally commented on. ExplorationTravMag was claiming the OP purchased from an OTA to get the cheapest price which was not supported by the story. We don’t know how she booked the flight so it is unfair to make that original claim.

        1. But that doesn’t mean that she booked it through an online travel agency – She could have gone to the airline’s website and booked directly with the airline. Or are airline websites also considered an online travel agency??

        2. That doesn’t mean an OTA. She could have done through the airline’s website. And I’m still wondering about your claim on the cheapest price.

      2. True – but as an agent, I ALSO make sure our clients have confirmation numbers (and printouts) from EACH airline in their reservation. Not something you get online, and folks don’t go the extra step to call the carriers for the info BEFORE they travel.

    2. Would not work in the real world – a LOT of airlines could only offer a $600 fare from DTW-NYC, then a separate ticket (more baggage fees, etc) at a rate of $900 from NYC-LON, when a codeshare would allow them to offer a codeshared flight for $100 roundtrip DTW-LON. The problem is having US PNR number, but nothing from United or Air Canada – a quick call to those airlines might have offset the problem.

  9. 3 years ago I flew from ORD to LHR on American departing at 9:50am and arriving at 10:55pm. I really liked that option instead of the late afternoon/evening departures and getting in to the UK in the morning (when you can’t even check into your hotel until the afternoon). BA has that flight listed as operated by American on their website. Can’t imagine what the incentive would be for me to book via BA instead of AA.

    OT – does anyone know of other flights that depart the US in the morning for Europe?

    1. UA has a daily flight from EWR to LHR that leaves 08:00 arriving 20:00 (or 09:00 to 21:00 depending on daylight saving time). I like that one because when I get off the plane in LHR I head straight to the hotel and sleep, waking early the next morning local time ready to go. But, I find I have to fly into NY the night before and spend the night there in order to be there early enough to catch that flight.

      I find it nearly impossible to sleep on a plane, or any other moving vehicle, so the overnight flights are never any fun for me.

    2. But if you were then continuing ON to somewhere only BA flew it does make sense. And that is what people don’t understand. They offer each segment of a route, regardless of if they fly their own metal the complete trip or not, and so in some cases, we may see they do NOT have any of your flights on their own metal, but others will as they are travelling on after your destination.

  10. As someone who sells tickets that involve code shares, I do know that when the itinerary prints out, it states, below the flight number, that this codeshare is operated by XYZ carrier. At the end of the line where the flight information is printed, is the confirmation number. So if you have three carriers involved with your travels, you will have three confirmation numbers.
    Last year our international ticket had 3 segments and three confirmation numbers. Reconfirming on the last segment didn’t work out online, so we got to the airport early just in case there were any issues. Fortunately it all went well, but it is concerning when you are caught in between.

    1. But for some reason, when they book online (OTAs or airline websites) it ONLY gives them the carrier’s confirmation number (except for UA – they also give LH numbers). I agree, our GDS gives ALL confirmations, which is so much easier. 🙂

  11. Chris and I disagree here. I think code sharing is a beautiful thing. I can fly on far more routes, interline my bags, and only have to buy one ticket. Also, code sharing is blatantly displayed before purchasing a ticket stating who the operating carrier is, so I do not believe its dishonest. It’s the airlines forming an alliance to make travel easier. Without code sharing the OP would have had to buy multiple tickets, fetch and re-check her bag multiple times, etc.

    That said, I still voted yes. I don’t know what went wrong or why, but when a problem occurs the airlines need to step up and fix it. What happened to the OP is inexcusable for all of the airlines involved. The finger pointing needs to stop.

    I personally have never had a problem with code share flights, they always work very smoothly. I do try to stick to no more than 2 carriers per itinerary, and I always make sure I have my origination flight on the ticketing carrier. I feel that will make it smoother, but I do not know if it really makes a difference or not. It just makes me feel better.

    1. Very well stated. Sometimes it is necessary to use more than two carriers on an itinerary if flying to multiple locations on the same trip. It could be a genuine nightmare without code sharing and alliances. Yes the OP got treated badly here and fortunately received the deserved refund in the end. But the solution really isn’t always more regulation, as this column seems to think if you read it a while.

  12. Code share is here to stay! The trick is to know how to issue the ticket. The Chinese ticket agent stated the correct answer; “Call your travel agent”. Melissa acted as her own agent and messed up. The ticket should have been issued on the International carrier, not USair, but Usair would never do this for lack of the cash float they had.
    FQTYLR is absolutely correct, there are individual reservation numbers and ticket numbers assigned to those reservations (PNR’s). ASTA agents that know what they are doing, against the agent on the phone that may not, provide all of that information to the client.
    Thanks for getting Melissa’s $$$ back, but she created the problem through her lack of knowledge.

    1. Actually, let’s put the blame here where it really belongs – on whoever sold her the ticket to begin with. She didn’t “create” the problem, she just didn’t know what to look for and be wary of.

      It’s not her fault that the PNR for each carrier wasn’t there. That’s the fault of UsAir. They sold her the ticket. They took her money. And in the end it should have been their job to fix the problem too.

    2. Even if she did use a travel agent, she might not have been able to contact them.
      Middle of the night? Time difference taken into consideration.

      Or the weekend?
      I don’t know of many travel agents that answer a phone 24/7.

      1. Not to mention calling from China. Expensive and tricky to do without a phone card. If there is a US airways ticket counter there that would’ve been her best bet.

        If an airline sells a ticket via a code share to a destination they don’t service, then they need a way for the customer to contact them when things go wrong. Ideally that number should be listed on the reservation too.

  13. Sometimes code shares are simply unavoidable on international travel–there is no single airline that will fly the entire route that you need. I don’t think there is anything dishonest about that, I’ve never seen a booking come up that didn’t indicate when flight segments were being offered by different carriers.

    The alternative is booking completely separate tickets with different carriers for each leg of your trip. But then you better allow a lot of time for connections, because if carrier A is late getting you to your connection point, carrier B won’t care that you missed the second leg of your flight–from their point of view, you were a no show and your ticket is void. The advantage of a code share is that since your travel is on one ticket, the second carrier is supposed to accommodate you on a later flight if the first carrier experiences delays on the earlier flight.

    However, these horror stories on code shares do come up from time to time and perhaps there needs to be greater regulation to make the airline which sold the ticket to be financially responsible for the entire ticket.

    1. FYI, you can book multiple flights on different airlines on the same ticket, even if they don’t code share (and even if they aren’t partners), and when you do that you are protected for connections, luggage can be transferred, etc. Almost all major airlines are members of IATA, which has the rules and guidelines for this.

      That doesn’t mean there’s no hassle — you still have to get *somebody* to rebook when something goes wrong, and the alrines can bounce you back and forth, but IATA at least states who is supposed to be responsible. I wouldn’t do it unless I had no other option, but it is possible.

    2. Unfortunately, when another carrier refuses to honor the ticket, and then you purchase another, then they cannot control that. IF she had gone to USAir, they might have been able to clear up the problem, but she took AC’s word their was no reservation, and bought another ticket. AGAIN – if she had ALL the confirmations before travelling, this would not have occurred.

  14. I have found lately that if the carrier I am looking at has a code share route that works better for me than their own routes, I can book it with the code share partner directly and pay less. (I won’t bore you with examples, but if you are curious check UA flights into Europe and compare their prices to booking directly with LH, AC, AF etc..) And since they are all part of the same alliance, I still get my Frequent Flyer points.

    When I am forced to fly on a code share route, I always make sure to get my PNR from each airline. If I can’t get a PNR, it usually means I don’t have a reservation on that segment.

    Glad the OP got the refund for the ticket she shouldn’t have had to buy.

    1. I think you are correct in all cases except US Air. For some reason I always find them for less on routes they don’t even fly. For example, DEN-BOS and DEN-LGA are typically (When I search) ~$20 less when ticketed by US even though its operated by UA. I still refuse to buy it, which I know costs me more. I don’t want to go on a code share flight where I never once fly on the ticketing carrier.

  15. Do we know the problem? Had this been an interline ticket, would the problem had been avoided? We DO know that split tickets are a recipe for a nightmare, so that can be ruled out as an alternative.

    1. Someone we know, who is from Chine origanally and flies there fairly told us that Air Canada always overbooks on it’s flights from China. The last trip she and her husband made they were bumped and received a night in a hotel, all meals and a $1, 000 voucher agaibst future travel. So they are using the voucher for a trip to Italy.

      What I was leading up to is that this would have been a cheap way for Air Canada to bump her.

      Whether that was the case, who knows but I am suspicious.

  16. AIr Canada and US Air owe her more than a refund and a apology for all this headache. She must make a complaint to the Federal Transport authorities in both country. In the recent years Air Canada became the worst Airlines of Canada. People chose in first place WestJet, Air Porter, Air Transat for better service and cheaper fares.
    US Air is at fault here, since she get reticketing for US-China and that action cancelled her itinerary if not done properly, it likes she is a no-show on the initial ticketing with US Air and Air Canada.

    1. Interesting about Air Canada becoming the worst airline in Canada considering United often pairs up with them.
      But should I be surprised? One crappy airline joining hands with another crappy airline.

      1. I recently flew AC for the first time (because I didn’t want to fly UA on that specific route). I found them much better than UA ever was in every aspect of the travel experience. They even held the connecting plane for me when my flight into YYZ ran late. No other airline has ever done that for me.

        And I didn’t know Canada had another airline! 🙂

      2. Air Canada is actually a very good airline with excellent service. I fly on them tens of thousands of miles every year, I am in a very good position to know.
        I don’t know what went wrong with this person’s reservation but as pointed out, it seems very strange.
        In the rare event that I use an online travel agency, I make sure I can confirm it on the applicable airline website before I fly.
        No one seems to be saying what exactly went wrong here, but Air Canada wins quite a few awards. WestJet has given them some competition on some routes, which is healthy but “Westjetters” seem to be quite full of themselves. I’ve flown on them before. I’m not going to criticize WestJet but at the same time, it is pointless to state that they are much better than Air Canada. – and completely irrelevant to this issue. Something got screwed up, the first clue should have been United printing a paper ticket. This just doesn’t make any sense.
        Check your reservations before you fly. Especially when going on a long expensive trip.

  17. All she had to do was give the gate agent her ticket number (that nice long number) and it should have pulled up.
    The best way is to have the confirmation numbers for all the different airlines.

  18. Make the ticketing airline responsible for an immediate refund when services are not provided, and let them sort it out with the other carrier(s).

  19. I do not mind code shares as I have used them often without any issues, but I do think they could be better handled. I think travelers should be reminded (or clearly told) to be sure to go to each airline and confirm that portion of the trip using the confirmation number for each airline involved. I think it should be required that the seller of the ticket be responsible for the entire trip, if there are issues between various airlines for a specific trip that needs to be handled behind the scenes between the airlines without involving the passenger because it has nothing to do with the traveler that purchased the trip. Using a TA is fine but is not a guarantee that things will always go well, sometimes you can have issues even with a trip booked through a TA.

  20. I have a hard time making sense of all of this.

    USAir issues a roundtrip e-ticket for Dayton to Shanghai on mostly codeshared United Flights (absolutely normal) and yet a United airport agent needs to reissue a PAPER ticket on their own stock. WHY?

    When I checked in for my return flight in Shanghai, I was told by agents that I did not have a reservation on the Air Canada flight.Why are you routed using Air Canada? Current fares of both USAir and United does not utilize that routing. (Maybe they did in the past but I checked historical fares for 2012 and routing over the Pacific using Air Canada was not allowed.)

    Once I arrived in Toronto a US Airways agent confirmed that I had been booked on the Air Canada flight all along“. Toronto ??? Again this routing does not make any sense since United flies their own airplanes between SFO/ORD and PVG.

    Are you sure USAir issued this ticket? Or was this bought from a crazed online travel agency?

    Actually this is NOT a codeshare problem. Since if ALL the flights were on UA codeshared flights, there would NOT have been any problem. I don’t believe USAir codeshares with Air Canada over the Pacific. USAir fares (the more expensive one) allow Trans Pacific routing using Air China (CA) but not AC.

    1. All good questions.

      While Air Canada (AC) does have non-stop flights from Toronto to Shanghai and back, I can’t find any way to book that starting in Dayton myself online. I can do it only as two separate booking. If I was flying business class, I would prefer the AC planes on this long of a flight over most UA planes. But it appears the OP must have build her own routing for this trip piece by piece.

      1. I could not even find a DAY-YYZ, DAY-YVR, DAY-YUL or DAY-Y** anything on Air Canada.
        Not sure how anyone can insert a Air Canada flight across the Pacific Ocean from Shanghai for a simple roundtrip itinerary on USAir fares and ticket stock.
        Some vital information is missing in this story. Did the passenger want a stop in Vancouver and, perhaps, Toronto? Every fare rule of USAir fares I have read, including the normal and Y fares, only allow combination with other USAir fares to form open jaws or other trips.

        Finally, to make this a case against codeshares is really bizarre for a couple of reasons.
        1. The passenger chose USAir codeshares on United mainly because it was CHEAPER. I am not sure a travel expert would be advocating for people to be paying more to be on the same exact flights.
        2. The flights that got screwed were not codeshares. They seem to be simple interlined flights on a USAir ticket if this story is to be believed.
        3. To repeat, if she flew on USAir codeshared United flights over the Pacific as the fares of USAir says she should have done, I don’t believe there would have been any problem.

    2. I suspect the Re-issuing for the DAY-PVG was not done properly and had the effect of canceling the original itinerary or PNR, If you don’t use the first segments in the itinerary then it has the effect of canceling the rest of the itinerary.
      It is true that’s the PVG-ORD is more logic. Connection to US via YYZ is not very convenient for US passenger to have to go thru CAN immigration and Custom and again
      US Immigration and Custom.

  21. I know that I’m very late to this particular party. (OT: This website is HORRIBLE to load on a mobile device! Which is all I had access to for the past 10 days.) Couple of thoughts:

    1) Glad to see that there were some cogent arguments FOR codesharing, which is the only way people living away from a hub can get anywhere by air.

    2) Glad to see @asiansmdan:disqus and @TonyA_says:disqus weighed in, as I know both of them are very knowledgeable about flights to the East. Thanks, gentlemen!

    3) Finally, when I book a flight that’s operated by another carrier via the dreaded codesharing, I KNOW that I’m codesharing. It’s not a secret when I book on an airline’s website “This flight operated by XYZ Airlines dba ABC Airlines” always appears when selecting my flights and paying. (Don’t know about OTAs, as I go directly to an airline’s website.) I get a whole string of numbers on my confirmation, and then I have to manually associate the numbers with the carriers and the flights. As in, I take a pen and write the confirmation number alongside the other information. Airline A has 123456 and Airline B has 987654 for confirmation numbers; but if I book with Airline A, only that number shows up at the top of the page. Since I might not have the 2nd piece of paper handy at crunch time, this is my workaround so that I have all the numbers right where I need them. I also write in the flight numbers used by the individual airlines; what Airline A calls 1234 is called 5678 by Airline B.

    I would sure like to see EACH segment print out the confirmation number and flight number for the actual airline being flown, right there in the middle of the page, rather than at the end. I have no idea if the software would support that, but I think it would eliminate a lot of confusion.

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