By Elizabeth Broomhall
Partner airlines selling seats at discounts, say travel agents
Passengers booking flights from the UAE could be paying over the odds if they do not check the prices offered by airlines which have code share agreements with firms such as Emirates and Eithad, travel agents have warned.
Foreign residents flying to destinations such as India, the Philippines and South Africa could be paying up to 40 percent more on their flights by booking directly with the operator, rather than visiting the local airline’s website.
One set of return flights between Dubai and Korea operated by Emirates proved to be AED1754 more expensive on the Emirates website than on the Korean Airways site, despite bookings pages referring to the exact same flight.
Trips to South Africa and Mauritius were also pricier when booked with Emirates rather than South African Airlines and Air Mauritius, differing AED190 and AED410 respectively.
“Code sharing is a practice often conducted by airlines whereby an operator will sell a block of seats to a partner airline for a fixed price,” said Basel Abu Alrub, managing partner of Dubai-based travel agency Utravel.
“The partner airline then has control over these seats and can start selling it through its own channel for a price lower, equal, or higher than the price of the operator.”
Passengers should always compare the two national carriers’ websites for rates, he said, or use websites that collate different flight prices from a variety of operators.
In some cases, flights are also less expensive when booked with the operating airline.
A set of Etihad flights to and from Istanbul next month was AED662 cheaper with the Abu Dhabi carrier than Turkish Airlines, whilst another return booking to and from Brussels proved to be an extra AED1040 when arranged via Brussels Airways rather than Etihad.
Alrub said in the majority of the cases the flight number will clearly show the code-share flight code, making it easy for fliers to compare.
Emirates has codeshare agreements with nine airlines, including Jet Airways, Phillippine Airlines and Thai Airways International.
Etihad also has agreements with as many as 30 regional carriers, among them Air Seychelles, Bangkok Airways and Kuwait Airways.
Very bad !!!
I had to fly to Cape Town some time back, and had asked my travel agent for rates. The rates quoted for South African was about 500 odd cheaper than quoted for Emirates, even though it was on code-share.
If it is the same aircraft, same service, why would I pay extra bucks? I'm glad I made the right decision and booked through SAA: Emirates can keep those Skywards miles that I would earned if I made the booking through them.. I need cash discount upfront!
Emirates helping out the people living in Emirates !!
I think this is the reverse of what you are talking about but i recently booked 3 return tickets from AUH - ATH with a local travel agent who wanted to charge me 3% for the privilege of paying with my credit card (mybank gives me cashback on CC payments ) en route to the travel agency to pay for the tickets i decided on the spur of the moment to call in at the airline office and guess what - the ticket price direct from the airline was AED 1900 les than the price quoted by the agent plus anotherAED 200 saved as the airline does not charge 3% for paying by credit card plus i get my 5% cash back!