It's my first time travelling, I've booked a return flight with different airlines there and back. When checking in do the airlines use the same ticket number? Because on my e ticket there is only one ticket number, so would this work to check in both times?

  • Tell us the airlines and the destinations. Some airlines collaborate and code share. The plane will have one name painted on the side but the passengers might have tickets from multiple apparently different airlines.
    – badjohn
    Aug 7, 2017 at 17:26
  • First, you will always check in with the airline you're flying that day. Yes, they both should be able to check you in with the one Record Locator (6 letter code). That's probably what you're looking at, the ticket number is something completely different that you, as the traveler don't need to worry about.
    – DTRT
    Aug 7, 2017 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


A return ticket is a ticket where you have a flight going to a destination and one coming back from the same destination to your point of origin. This is a type single ticket and therefore has a ticket number, as opposed to booking two one-way tickets which would give you two ticket numbers.

It happens that flights going and coming back are operated by different airlines or that they are in fact the same airline but flying under a flight number from another airline. This is nothing to worry about. Note that one or both flights (going and coming) may have multiple connections and in may even use flights from different airlines per segment.

Additionally to your ticket number, you will be given a Reference Locator (usually a number of letters and numbers) that identifies your whole trip. Commonly, one Reference Locator identifies at least one ticket. If multiple passengers are travelling together, the Record Locator will identify all tickets for the group, since each passenger gets a ticket number.

Depending on your trip and agreement between airlines, it can get more complicated, so this answer is not an exhaustive description of all permutations, just know that it can happen that mapping ticket numbers to reference locators and back is not always as simple as in a one-way or return case.

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