A Guide to Virtual Interlining

November 15, 2023

Virtual Interlining (VI) refers to a travel booking technique that allows travellers to create itineraries with connections between non-interlined airlines. This means that when travelling, the traveller must check in again with the connecting airline at the layover airport, typically called a self-transfer.

The practice increases flight options and decreases itinerary costs as well as creates a new source of revenue for Online Travel Agencies (OTAs).

Some OTAs using VI have also enabled partnerships with Low Cost Carriers (LCCs). LCCs do not offer traditional services but in return offer lower fares and their content usually yields better VI results. For a full picture of the benefits of VI, check out this blog post: Virtual Interlining for Multi-City Trips: Challenges and Solutions

For now, let's have a look at the example of VI in the diagram below.

Imagine that you are flying from Sydney to Paris by way of Dubai. You would board your flight in Sydney and complete the self-transfer at the airport in Dubai then board your second flight to Paris which would be operated by a different airline alliance. You'd be responsible for transferring your own luggage and checking in for your next flight once you land in Dubai but flying with two different airline alliances offers an average of 15% cheaper fares compared to non-VI routes.

Using the Virtual Interlining feature of our SmartFlights API allows customers to book one-way and round-trip itineraries with the Trip Ninja experience they love, for less. We make the most of your content to be able to do this.

Let's see our technology in action.

A traveler is flying from Atlanta (ATL) to Paris (CDG) with a departure date of January 8, 2024.

Below you can see all the flight options compared by price.

The cheapest route that we found has multiple self-transfers which is an extension of a classic VI route. Multiple transfers are more common during long flights and itineraries that include secondary locations. For example, it may be cheapest to fly from New York to Paris but if you're leaving from Atlanta, you'd first have to arrive at a major departure city.

Advanced itineraries such as those with multiple transfers create the opportunity for more unique travel options for OTAs and allow them to offer competitive pricing and exceptional travel experiences.

Our sales team would be happy to answer any questions you have about the feature. Schedule a call to find out what Virtual Interlining can do for your business.

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