Booked Austrian Airlines, but flying Eurowings and Air Berlin?

It seems like booking airline flights became like a walk on a mine field. It is not just find a flight, check the dates and pay for it, now it is lucrative process, where misleading information can occur at any of numerous steps of booking.

Read the updated report here


This was my reaction when a friend sent me his reservation for RT flight from Copenhagen to Madrid. He was in a rush, and did not pay much attention to the reservation. We both wanted to fly Star Alliance to use Gold status benefits.

He found a decent flight with Lufthansa to Madrid and Austrian Airlines on the way back. Here is how it looked like on one of the booking websites:

LufthansaAustrianMadridSo far, so good! OS (Austrian Airlines) flights all the way back. When continuing to booking website, it shows the same:

 Same picture, Austrian Airlines.

The evil was hiding under show stopover details tab, when expanded it reveals the operating airlines:

Here is what it looked like for my friend, who booked it on another one:

Only flights with OS codes, and not a single mentioning about Eurowings or Air Berlin!

I’m well aware of endless cases when passengers book Lufthansa, Swiss or Austrian, but end up flying Eurowings without any Star Alliance benefits, but Air Berlin in reservation puzzled me completely. I had to book the same flights combination as my friend, but was wondering what is the deal between Austrian and Air Berlin.

Well, it was interesting finding. Here is how it works:

  • We booked a flight with Austrian Airlines flight codes and reservation is available on their website.
  • Flight from Madrid to Vienna is operated by Eurowings on Air Berlin aircraft, with no Star Alliance Gold benefits for anyone, apart from Lufthansa Miles and More program.
  • Flight from Vienna to Copenhagen is operated by Austrian Airlines, but on Air Berlin aircraft. Completely confusing flight confirmation as it only says “operated by Air Berlin”. Supposedly, this flight will benefit from Star Alliance Gold status and grant access to lounge in Vienna.

I find it frustrating to constantly triple check bookings, and search for such cases of “Booked Austrian Airlines but flying with Air Berlin operated by Air Serbia with flight crew from fired Emirates A380”. And I can totally see how a person with a little bit less knowledge about airlines can end up being completely lost.

Unfortunately, I think such cases will occur more and more, given Air Berlin poor financial situation and Lufthansa focusing on switching most of European flights to Eurowings.

I will update how this trip works out, and if there are any benefits on the last leg of the flight back to Copenhagen.

Read the report here

Have you had such case recently?

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