We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Flying airline X operated by airline Y

Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
130 posts
4 reviews
Save Topic
Flying airline X operated by airline Y

What does this mean, exactly? Are the planes not X or is it the crew is Y? Or, is the ticket/flight sold by X and the plane and crew are Y? What's all this silliness?

BTW, I had a rather displeasure 1.5 years ago on a return flight. I chose to carry my camera onto the plane in a very small carry-on bag (much smaller than what a lot of people try to get away with. This was a Delta flight that I didn't know was being outsourced.

First, my priority boarding wasn't honored by this 3rd party in Delta sheep's clothing and then my small carry-on bag was forcibly checked--something I absolutely detested. I learned after the fact that the flight wasn't operated by Delta. NEVER again will I allow this.

It is like buying a Mercedes CLS AMG and discovering it is a Toyota. Not knocking Toyota, but if I'm paying for a Merc I want a Merc. Same goes for air travel. If I pay for BA, VA, etc., I don't want to be outsourced to Delta. And yes, I am now seeing and filtering flights based on these outsourcing aspects.

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
Level Contributor
55,369 posts
158 reviews
Save Reply
11. Re: Flying airline X operated by airline Y

It sounded like you flew on one of those regional jets that had one seat on the left and two seats on the right, with the overhead bins on the right side only. I have flown that plane way more often than I'd like. As most larger carry-on's don't fit in the overhead bin, many passengers do a valet "gate-check" at the jetway where they then claim their bags upon landing at the door. As the bag doesn't come out on the carousel, there is hardly any chance of theft. This is by-and-large standard practice across most airlines that use such smaller planes.

My guess is your camera bag was not exactly a small bag so the crew asked you to valet-check it. I have ignored such instructions in the past when I knew my bag would certainly fit in the overhead bin. I do have priority boarding space is usually not an issue for me. Also, the overhead bins of such small jets are usually not full because most bags have to be valet-checked.

The "operated by" can be anything. If it's a parent company owning a company, then the rules are the same. It's like flying American Eagle vs American. They are different entities on paper but the baggage rules are the same.

Syracuse, New York
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse, Cayman Islands
Level Contributor
4,786 posts
92 reviews
Save Reply
12. Re: Flying airline X operated by airline Y

OK, this is a totally different issue that the one I stated before - when you are on the smaller commuter jets it is quite normal for bags that are normally carry-on size not to fit. These are so-called "gate-checked" - they are treated very differently from normally checked luggage in that the airlines know that they will probably contain more fragile items than regular luggage.

I am sure that our airline experts can describe this in more detail, but the luggage os loaded more carefully, and offloaded more carefully. Nor does it go through all the usual baggage handling - it gets delivered to your right as you exit the aircraft.

I regularly have to gate check a bag when flying the small aircraft - if i am bringing my camera and laptop I make a point of pulling those out of the bag and carrying them onto the plane. Or I have a much smaller bag that they will fit in (Iike a grocery shopping bag). I have never had a problem with this.

If you plan to travel on less busy routes, this is the reality of modern-day air travel, and this specific case (regional jets) really has nothing to do with what other folks take on board, or your priority boarding - those flights tend to be a lot more strict about what you can carry on.

Thank you for coming back and posting more details - your scenario makes a lot more sense, now.

Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
43,720 posts
1,304 reviews
Save Reply
13. Re: Flying airline X operated by airline Y

Also, there are instances where a carrier, say United ('cause that who we usually fly), where we will have a leg, or more, on another airline, but one with a strong affiliation, such as United Express. In that case, we always see "Operated by SkyWest" on the reservation, and on the boarding pass. We fly United Express into/out of PHX most often, heading to/from a hub city, such as San Francisco (SFO).

In the above cases, United Express/SkyWest operates smaller craft, such as the CRJ-200's. They ARE smaller - much smaller, and their baggage restrictions apply. I have observed many pax, who are connecting on a United Express flight, who have to have their carry-ons gate-checked, due to the smaller size of the planes. A few, who don't do this sort of thing every week, will complain, "but I didn't have to gate-check this bag on my flight from EWR!" No they did not, but they were on an A-320 on that leg, and are now on a CRJ-200.

There are several such affiliations, such as AA & American Eagle, and once US and SkyWest. I forget who Delta's affiliate is, but would bet that it's on their Web site.

Not sure if Alaska has an affiliate, and do not believe that Hawaiian does either - however that is probably because each flies fewer routes, and just cover those with their own metal.

One sees the affiliations in situations that could be referred to as "commuter airlines."

Fly safely,


Level Contributor
5,022 posts
34 reviews
Save Reply
14. Re: Flying airline X operated by airline Y

Alaska's affiliate is Horizon Airlines, which is a member of the same group of companies. It seems quite common for the largest USA airlines to have both sister companies/subsidiaries and independent companies operating flights on the smaller aircraft in the mainline company's livery, but "operated by..".

15. Re: Flying airline X operated by airline Y

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 15 July 2015, 06:16