5152008: Two Airlines for One Trip?

I’ve been shopping online for airline flights to the Caribbean. Because my fiance and I don’t live in a hub city, we’ll have to make connections to get to any of the islands (I’m still picking which one!) Here’s my question: should I consider an itinerary that involves more that one air carrier to get us from our hometown to the island?

Thanks for your email. Well, the answer is yes…and no…

If the carriers have a CODE SHARE agreement or at least an INTERLINE agreement, the transition from one airline to the other will be easy. You’ll check in at the first airline, check in your luggage and board. When you make your connection, your baggage will be transferred from airline A to airline B for you. Airline B will have been notified by airline A that you made the airline A flight so they’ll know your status.

However, if the airlines do NOT have an agreement, the connection can be much more difficult. Check with the airlines involved but generally it means a lot more work (and potential delays) for you. If you check bags, you’ll need to retrieve your bag (which means leaving security) from the airline A baggage turnstile at the end of the airline A flight, come back through security, and start all over with airline B. Airline B will assume that your trip is originating in that city; they will not know that you have been flying aboard airline A to reach that connection city.

In short, we’d really suggest you look for carriers with code share agreements (or at least an interline agreement for the transfer of baggage) or stick with one carrier for the entire journey. If you do split the trip between two airlines, make sure you leave lots of time to make that connection.

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