The Basics

2 Reasons to Buy Your Flight to Europe From a Different Airline [Codeshare Flight]

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Written by Charlie

If you want to fly a particular airline to or from Europe, you can save money by using this little technique of buying from one airline and flying on another.


There have been a ton of flight deals to Europe lately, whether it is on the low cost carriers like WOW or the ultra cheap flights to Spain. But, sometimes you need a flight to a particular city or you want to flight on a certain route. It can limit it to a certain airline but there are 2 reasons you may want to buy that ticket from a different airline – to fly on the airline you really want.

How to Save Money on Your Next Flight to Europe Using Codeshares

What is a “Codeshare?”

A codeshare flight is one where partner/alliance airlines put their flight numbers on a flight operated by a partner. For instance, you may have been at the gate for a domestic flight and seen flight numbers for KLM, Air France, Korean – even though you are flying a Delta flight. Codeshares enable partners to sell tickets around the world under their own flight numbers but utilizing their partners’ flights.

When it comes to buying tickets to Europe or from Europe, there can be some savings to be had by purchasing those flights on US carriers – but from partners and not the actual carrier.

Reason 1 – Busting Saturday Night Stay Rules & One Way Prices

With many airlines that fly between the US and Europe, there is a requirement with the cheaper fares that the passenger must stay over on a Saturday night. If you try to fly to Europe for Monday through Friday on Delta, for example, you will pay a hefty premium for the choice of not staying over a Saturday night. This helps the airlines to be able to charge business passengers, who may want to be home on the weekend, with higher fares.

One way tickets between the US and Europe are also sold at a premium. This is one that confuses many people I know all the time – if a round trip ticket to Europe is $450 from the US, it does not mean that a one way is $225! In fact, that one way may be more like $1,900 for that same flight!

But, when you buy some codeshare flights, you can bust those fare rules and still fly on the US carrier. It does not work for all airlines but it is something that can work with Finnair and Iberia (and sometimes British) when flying on American Airlines. Here is a single example:

flights to Europe

It can be much cheaper to purchase a one way to Europe on a codeshare and fly American – instead of buying American!

As you can see, the cost is 1/3 of the cost if you bought the flight from American Airlines – but you will still be flying on American Airlines!

Reason 2 – Cheaper Prices!

Again, this is not something that will work in every case but it does work and can save you quite a bit of money on your next trip to or from Europe!

Here is just a random sample from Delta and using Air France to purchase the ticket (also, you can use the Amex Offer on Air France for Delta flights to get even more value!). As you can see, after the currency conversion, you are saving $137 on the exact same ticket just by purchasing it from Air France instead of Delta.

flight to europe

The flight from Delta, purchased on Delta – in Euros

flight to europe

The same flight on Delta but purchased from Air France – in Dollars

What to Know

Here are a couple of things you will need to know:

  • You cannot apply upgrade certificated when booking with a codeshare (if you are a top elite with AA, you cannot upgrade your ticket if purchased from Finnair)
  • Your mileage earning may be different (you will see the class purchased but maybe not the fare class flown which is what will be credited to whatever program you use – it may change your earning rates)

But, if you want to save money or take advantage of things like the Air France Amex Offer, there are some deals to be had! These little tips can save money when you want to book a one way or if you just want to pay less but still fly on certain airlines. This post is certainly not a comprehensive guide to where to find all of this but hopefully it will open up your awareness to looking beyond your favorite airline’s website. Remember, many of these deals can be found by using an online travel agent as well.

What deals have you found when booking codeshares?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

1 Comment

  • Everything is nice and dandy until one of the DL legs is cancelled so the system automatically books you a seat in a flight 3 days from now and the AF rep can’t/won’t do much because you booked the first flight as an AZ-codeshare.