Singapore Airlines (SQ) is one of the best airlines in the world to fly. It's expensive as well. However, I found that Air India also sell ticket for an SQ-operated flight, and the price is like $600 cheaper from the one sold by SQ.

Other than the price, what difference can I expect between buying from Air India and from Singapore Airlines? Can I expect the same services that SQ is famous for? Is there any other difference that I should be aware of?

  • Air India… Once I've been in a single Air India aircraft for - if I recall correctly - something like 24h: They could not land and had to return to the origin airport. In the end, toilets were clogged and alcoholic beverages out of stock. They have their fair share of weird news stories. If the flight is operated by SQ, however, I would not be worried, and in fact I would expect the usual SQ service.
    – feklee
    May 19, 2013 at 11:49
  • @feklee That would be an amazing feat to pull off, a single flight for over 24 hours ? Sweet. guardian.co.uk/science/2005/nov/12/… Wouldn't any aircraft's toilet be jammed if it flew for that long ? May 19, 2013 at 14:16
  • @happybuddha It wasn't in the air all the time. It was Bombay to New Delhi ("we can't land because of ground fog"), then back to Bombay, waiting there over night, then New Delhi again, and finally Frankfurt. That was long ago, 1995 or 96, so pardon me if I don't remember exactly.
    – feklee
    May 19, 2013 at 17:28
  • 1
    Some SQ Frequent Flier program specials might apply only if you book the ticket directly from SQ.
    – R-traveler
    May 19, 2013 at 17:36

2 Answers 2


There is no difference other than the price, at least on the plane. On board, the only difference between passenger service is differentiated by the class. Usually, there are up to 4 classes: Economy, Premium Economy (or Economy Comfort), Business, and First class.

I think there will also be no difference at the airport for Economy class at least. Some airlines reserve their lounge to business tickets for their customers only (so if you buy a business class seat with Air India for a Singapore Airlines operated flight, you might not be able to access Singapore Airlines lounge for example).

Other than that, ticketing conditions are usually different on a lot of points. First, you will not get the same amount of frequent flyer miles, or even none. It might also affect which frequent traveller program you credit your miles to (as @Gagravarr added). Refund and exchange conditions will be specific too. There might other ticketing conditions I forget that depend on the seller and not the operating airline.

Note: on Germanwings, I was asked my name to know the fare class I booked with, and was given a small bag with food whose content depended on my fare class. So in this case, passengers in the same cabin may have a different flight experience.

  • 1
    Some airlines offer the highest economy fare-holders tiny perks such as a free meal that others are paying for, or a free alcoholic beverage. But these distinctions are tiny. May 19, 2013 at 14:52
  • 4
    It might make a difference in terms of what frequent traveller programs you can credit your flight to, and how many miles you earn
    – Gagravarr
    May 19, 2013 at 15:06

It depends on the airline and the exact nature of the code-share.

For example, I did a code share with JAL and BA a few times. If you book with JAL you get two check-in bags for free, if you book with BA and travel on the exact same JAL flight and pay an extra £20 you get one free check-in bag. Otherwise service at the airport and on the flight is the same.

It is possible to be screwed this way. For example, you might book a return flight with JAL. Flying out you are on a JAL aircraft and get two free check-in bags. Flying back you are on a BA flight and only get one, so have to pay a surcharge.

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