The codeshare agreement between Turkish Airlines and Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo is making one thing clear: business class seats will only be available when booked via a Turkish Airlines ticket.
In a statement announcing its wet lease agreement with IndiGo, Turkish Airlines said: “While Turkish Airlines will be able to sell both business class (B/C) and economy class (E/C) tickets during the process, IndiGo Airlines will be able to sell economy class (E/C) tickets only due to its operational structure.”
IndiGo, which only flies economy class seats, has just started Boeing 777 operations between Delhi, India, and Istanbul, Turkey. The Boeing 777s have been wet-leased from Turkish Airlines, and are fitted in a 2-class configuration, business and economy.
What happens when codeshare agreements are not ‘equal’?
In general, airline codeshare agreements tend to put an emphasis on convenience and allow passengers greater options in terms of routes. However, when full-service airlines such as Turkish Airlines codeshare with low-cost carriers like IndiGo, things can get a little more complex.
For instance, when a passenger books and purchases a Turkish Airlines ticket that is codeshared with IndiGo, it means the ticket (and flight number in most cases) will indicate Turkish Airlines, but the actual aircraft that will fly that segment is IndiGo, a carrier that only offers economy seats.
While passengers might be aware that a flight segment is a codeshare flight, they can still be disappointed when they book a full-service airline and get service from a low-cost carrier.
Many will recall the incident in December 2022 when an IndiGo flight attendant engaged in a ‘shouting match’ with a passenger over meal availability.
IndiGo issued a statement confirming that the incident occurred on a codeshare flight between IndiGo and Turkish Airlines.
Though it is not confirmed, the conversation between the passenger and the flight attendant seems to suggest that the passenger booked a Turkish Airlines ticket and was expecting a meal more substantial than the ones IndiGo could offer.
By creating a rule whereby business class seats can only be booked via a Turkish Airlines-issued ticket, codeshare agreements like this should hopefully become a smoother experience for both customers and crew.