Understanding your flight and booking options

Air travel is complex. Google Flights partners with over 300 airlines, online travel agencies and aggregators to help you decide how to get to your destination and how to buy your ticket.  We want you to have what you need to make that decision, and to do that we share a lot of information from our partners. In some cases, that might mean listing multiple airlines or other entities for a single flight or segment; in others, your booking options may not be what you expected. Here are a few things to know to help you navigate your Flight search experience:

  • Codeshares: many airlines enter into codeshare agreements with other airlines, which allow multiple airlines to sell tickets on a single plane. The airline that actually flies the plane is called the “operating carrier,” while any other airline that can sell seats on that plane is a “marketing carrier.” When you’re searching for flights on Google, you can find information about marketing and operating carriers by clicking into the detailed view of any flight. Codeshare arrangements are indicated by the text: "Tickets also sold by…", indicating the marketing carriers for the selected itinerary.  
  • Interlines: airlines may also enter into interline agreements with other airlines, which allow a consumer to book a single itinerary through an airline that in fact involves tickets on two or more airlines. If your Flight search results include multiple airlines in each itinerary, without the need to book separately through each airline, you’re probably seeing an interline arrangement.
  • “Virtual interlines”: a virtual interline is a combination of flights from carriers without a codeshare or interline agreement. Also known as self-transfer fares, virtual interlines generally require travelers to collect and recheck baggage during layovers, check into each flight separately, and forego the benefits of communication between airlines, but these combinations may also increase your flight options or provide low prices. Some of Google’s OTA partners offer the option to book virtual interlines, which we indicate with the text “Separate tickets booked together.”   
  • Operational disclosures: sometimes, a flight might be operated by another entity that is not itself an airline (or not an airline that sells tickets to consumers). In this case, you might see the text "plane and crew by [Other Entity]" noted in the flight details. 
  • Airlines and OTAs make their own rules. After you choose your preferred flights on Google, you’ll usually be presented with at least one link to book that itinerary through one of Google’s airline or OTA partners. Sometimes, you might have lots of options to book. You might see multiple airlines (for example, if the flight is a codeshare), or any number of OTAs, if they are able to sell you the ticket.  Sometimes, even if a flight exists, partners may have rules that prevent us from linking to it on their website. It’s our goal to help you book the itinerary you want and to make sure you know your options. 
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