When it comes to the big trips, getting the right airfare can get tricky. The easiest way is to use a single airline to book the entire journey. Often that airline will have codeshares on the flights it does not operate. Should a delay occur, having it on the one ticket will often give you some protection. For example if you miss a flight, the airline will (usually) sort out a replacement. However, sometimes you can save significant money by using different airlines for various legs, which can bring up some interesting questions.

I’m considering booking 2 separate tickets both on One World Alliance carriers but my concerns are with the close connections. Eg: Los Angeles-Hong Kong-Dubai has only 55 minutes as a connection in Hong Kong and I arrive to Dubai at 8:55pm if all is well. However, I have a connecting flight from Dubai-Colombo-Singapore 10:45pm. If I miss that flight to Dubai I will end up missing my connection to Singapore. If I miss a connection is there any recourse or would end up happening?

In order for it to be a connection, generally the flights must be on the one ticket. Amongst most airlines who are members of IATA (International Air Transport Association), there is consensus that these connections are protected. If a delay occurs, the airline causing the delay will organise replacement flights. On separate tickets, no such agreement is generally in place.

Cathay will protect you on the Los Angeles-Dubai flights. If you miss the connection in HKG they will put you on the next flight. I’m not sure how baggage will work – don’t know if they can through check Los Angeles-Singapore? If you arrive late into Dubai you’ll need to refer to UL policy and how flexible your ticket is. UL would not normally be responsible for anything on separate tickets.

One of the few exceptions to the above rules is often where both tickets feature airlines that might have a through check agreement in place. Despite being separate tickets, the journey can often be treated as one big ticket. That could mean getting your baggage through checked to the destination on the second ticket, even getting boarding passes to your final destination.

It would depend if CX has an IATCI agreement (inter airline through check-in) with UL, however they’re both in the OW Alliance so you’d hope that was the case. Give CX check-in at LAX your UL oncarriage flights & it’s possible you’ll be through checked & receive all your boarding passes. That way if CX are late inbound to DXB UL can see what your in-carriage flight is.

Some airlines may even take that further as American Airlines does, with a specific policy saying they will treat alliance partner flights on separate tickets as if they were on the one ticket. You can find that little gem here.

Buying separate tickets can be risky, have you had similar issues, did you take the risk to get the reward, and if something went wrong, how was it handled? Join the discussion HERE.


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