Double, Triple, and Quadruple Checking Third Party and Partner Reservations

Cranky Flier relays a story about booking what appeared to be a premium class fare online but learning that the operating carrier saw the reservation as being in coach.

In all likelihood the issue is driven by the website booking a fare class that it though was in a premium cabin, but that the airline considers to be a coach fare.

Cranky’s general advice for this situation is sound:

Always double check with your airline after booking through an online travel agent to make sure everything is in order.

I’d actually expand this a bit. This is true for third party bookings. It’s also true for flights involving partner carriers, whether ticketed by one airline but involving a flight on another or involving a code share, and especially with partner award tickets.

I once booked an award on Lufthansa and Thai with United miles. I put the award on hold involving a flight back from Shanghai. I changed the award prior to ticketing to come back a day later from Beijing. No problem, tickets issued, United website showed my itinerary correctly. But Lufthansa still saw the Shanghai – Frankfurt flight in the reservation, and when I no-showed it I’d likely have had the rest of my itinerary cancelled. Lufthansa couldn’t change it, as United has made the booking. And goodness knows I didn’t trust United to fix it when they told me they didn’t even see the Shanghai flights on their end. So I just waited until my outbound when I was in Frankfurt’s First Class Terminal, and I asked my kind personal assistant there to fix it. And magically it was fixed. But I’m glad I knew there was an issue, which I wouldn’t have without checking.

Similarly, I flew Air Canada on a United codeshare, United ticket stock, tickets issued by Mark Travel (United Vacations) and while the outbound was fine somehow the return ticket got disassociated from the reservation. I couldn’t check in online and it took close to half an hour to sort out at the airport — prior to Toronto’s insane security and of course US immigration preclearance procedures.

In this case I had actually spoken to the airline and had been assured that everything was fine!

So it makes sense to call and even then there’s no guarantee. Things can go wrong. But usually under the premise of dealing with seat assignments one can discover if anything is amiss with a reservation. And it’s generally a good idea to take such precautions.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I totally agree. Last year, I had a convoluted award booking and had made at least half dozen changes prior to travel. On my last flight home, I showed up at SGN to board my Asiana flight to ICN then SFO in First. The SGN agent said, their are some problems with my award and United has rebooked me on Korean Air in Economy to fly home. I almost got a heart attack. As it turns out, they booked me on Asiana as well and I was able to fly home as booked. Always check and double check partner tickets.

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