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I, as a German living in Hamburg, am planning to book flights for a holiday in Panama.

I want to go there with a friend, who lives in a different part of Germany, near the border to Netherlands. The long range flight will probably be Amsterdam-Panama City (Either KLM or Air France).

What I need is something like:

  • 1 Ticket Hamburg - Amsterdam - Panama
  • 1 Ticket Köln - Amsterdam - Panama

However it is important that the long range tickets are registered as a pair by the airline. There are personal reasons for this, lets call them anxiety - I really want to make sure that, whatever happens (overbooking etc...), we both will definitly end up on the same long range flight. For all the options I consider, this has top priority.

As far as I can see, it is not possible to book this via the web interface. So the best options probably are

  1. go by car to the same location
  2. book the feeder flights indepentently.

I really dislike 1 because this means a long car trip after the flight, and 2 has the danger of delays resulting in a "no show" for the long flight.

Are there any options I am not aware of?

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    Two other ideas: Going through a travel agent and calling KLM instead of using the web interface. The fact it cannot be booked easily through the web does not mean it cannot be booked at all. – Relaxed Jul 10 '17 at 16:01
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    Option 1 may be substantially more expensive. Non stop flights tend to be more expensive than connections, even if the connection includes the exact same flight. We found that DUS->AMS->BOS is much cheaper than just AMS->BOS. This bizarre price structure is the the reason behind "hidden city ticketing". – Hilmar Jul 10 '17 at 18:01
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This cannot be accomplished in a perfect way. Air bookings are managed by PNRs, or passenger name records—essentially a kind of database record standardised in the late 1970s. The PNR system doesn't allow it; every passenger on the PNR has to have the same flight reservations.

What you can do is make separate bookings and ask the airline to link the bookings together. In theory, if the airline makes a change to one booking, they will see that they ought to make the same change to the other booking.

However this "linking" is actually just a human-readable note put into the freeform notes field of each PNR, referring to the other PNR; to my knowledge no automated rebooking system will ever try to interpret it.

In reality it is unlikely that you will be separated from your friend in advance; I would say >99% of my airbookings go ahead without an involuntary reroute and when an invol reroute is required airlines are usually happy to accept about what alternative flights will be acceptable to me.

That said, the most likely reason you would be separated is if one of your two feeder flights has irregular operations and is delayed. But then even if somehow you were on the same booking, I am not sure the airline would be happy for the undelayed one of you to wait and be likewise re-accommodated.

So I suggest book your two flights separately, with plenty of padding at your mutual connection point, if possible through a competent travel agent who can link it, otherwise call up and get them linked, and try to keep a close eye on your bookings.

An alternative is for one of you to fly to the other in advance and then start your journey together, but that may be impractical also, particularly on your way home.

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