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I want to go from A to C, and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has a route with layover in B. I found two tickets:

  1. From the airline website: layover of 3 hours in B

  2. From an external booking website (ExploreTrip): they found ticket in 1) as well as a ticket with only one hour change in B. The ticket/route was not offered on the airline website. This ticket has a single PNR, including the two flights.

What happens if the first flight (A to B) is delayed, so that I miss the second flight (B to C)?
I think that:

  1. If I bought the ticket offered on the company's website, they clearly would re-book me on next available flight at their own cost.

  2. But what if the ticket was bought on the external website?

Could the company claim they were not selling themselves that ticket with short transition time, and hence are not accountable?

I know that for some multi-airlines tickets, loosing a connection just means loosing the ticket.

Could it be also the case if I travel with the same company?

  • Without knowing the specific carrier, this question is not answerable beyond speculation. For example, AA will reaccommodate you on two separate tickets if the delayed/cancelled flight is AA/OneWorld and a specific minimum connection time exists. – Johns-305 Nov 29 '16 at 23:35
  • Important note: this is not called a stopover but a layover and communicating with anyone at the airline this would cause a lot of confusion. – chx Nov 29 '16 at 23:42
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    A stopover is a single ticket more than 24 / 48 hours between flights. – chx Nov 29 '16 at 23:43
  • A Stopover is really just a marketing thing specified in fare rules. Either way, don't use Stopover or Connection if you talk to the airline, they do have specific meanings. Just say you're coming on Flight A, then booked to deport on Flight B. – Johns-305 Nov 29 '16 at 23:48
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    Thanks to everyone for the comments! I updated the question taking into account the comments, so yes, @pnuts it is a single PNR, and true, this is actually a layover :-( Corrected! – Matifou Nov 30 '16 at 0:44
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tl;dr: if the PNR given is good for the airline website, you are good to.

This is difficult to assess. The problem is that "umbrella" PNRs exist for many legit purposes, consider these like a folder where you can have many individual trips with their own PNR. Often the booking agency won't let you know without some prodding (usually over the phone) the individual PNRs either -- your clue will be the fact you can't log into the airline website to see your trip with the PNR given. But the 3rd party website, checkmytrip and similar does show your trip.

So using such an "umbrella" the 3rd party is perfectly capable of creating two independent bookings. As they say, don't suppose malice where stupidity would do -- some crafty travel hacker software engineer who thought of grafting two trips together might have forgotten the MCT checks.

Because there's such a thing in the GDS, called Minimum Connection Time which is not accessible to the general public (grrr) but is often posted by insiders to various wikis, flyertalk, etc. So you need to Google (or ask here and we will Google for you, it's not like we know) the MCT for the given route. It will be like International-to-International at airport B or some such. If the booking is within the MCT then such hacking is unlikely and the airline doesn't sell you for whatever random reason and you should be good to go.

If the PNR given to you allows you signing in to the airline website showing the whole booking, you are good to go. If it doesn't and when calling the 3rd party customer service you are given two PNRs for the airline, you are in trouble. Merely having two PNRs for a complicated trip wouldn't be trouble, in fact it's quite normal but for a single trip with two legs on the same airline, that needs to be on the same PNR. (As an example, I was flying Amman-New York-Vancouver on Royal Jordanian and Cathay Pacific and you can book this with American Airlines over the phone and you will end up with an RJ, a CX and an AA PNR -- for whatever reason, none of the three will sell you this ticket online.)

If third party does offer booking within the MCT then I would screenshot it and ask them WTF are they doing and if the feign ignorance then send it to at least the airline but also, if USA based, I would email info@iatan.org because I think the IATA would be quite interested in such a blatant rule violation.

  • +1 I had the "umbrella" thing recently on a Turkish flight bought from a 3rd party site: the PNR given by the seller did not work to login on the Turkish website, but it worked on checkmytrip, which then gave me the correct one. – fkraiem Dec 2 '16 at 2:01

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