Airline Techniques: What Are Married Segments?



A topic which is been coming up more and much more usually in the Miles & Factors environment as of late is married segments.

Broadly speaking, married segments are two or a lot more flights among metropolis pairs that airlines promote alongside one another as a one bundled unit, alternatively than as two or more unique segments. Married segments apply to each cash and award bookings.

Let us consider a further glimpse into married segments and how you may possibly experience them when setting up your outings.

What Are Married Segments?

Lots of of us have spent a great number of hrs searching for the ideal itinerary. A baffled seem seems on your encounter when you see your ideal flight obtainable as portion of a multi-flight itinerary – but when you research for the personal segment by itself, it magically disappears.

This probably is not an occasion of phantom award house. As a substitute, what you’re encountering is a married section.

There can be any number of stipulations positioned on how the flights could be offered, usually buried deep in the fare rules.

For married segments, the airline may condition that a specific flight pairing ought to be booked alongside one another at a specific selling price, and the flights might not be booked independently for the exact fare.

For award bookings, an airline might release “Saver” or reduced-cost award seats on married segments, but not on the exact specific segments.

Married section logic has been applied with greater frequency to award bookings in new many years. Notice that the loyalty software has no manage around married section logic alternatively, the airline whose tickets are remaining bought decides which segments are married.

Why Do Airways Use Married Segments?

Airlines use married segments strategically to optimize profit.

By managing both equally the issuance of frequent flyer details and the flights for which points might be employed, which includes married segments, airways be certain that they are raking in as much money as attainable.

Most key airlines have origin and destination controls to choose how significantly profits contribution they’ll get for each flight. To execute this, the airline may possibly make your mind up to marry segments collectively to prevent travellers or journey brokers from earning bookings in a way that goes from the earnings contribution the airline is aiming for.

Airlines use married segments to improve income.

For illustration, immediate flights are almost often far more high priced than connecting flights. A direct flight from Vancouver to Toronto may be more high priced than a flight from Vancouver to Montreal with a connection in Toronto, no matter whether in terms of cash or dynamic award pricing.

Direct prolonged-haul flights are relatively straightforward for airways to promote. In main cities, these types of as Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, or Vancouver, there is a sensible expectation that quality cabins will offer, even up to the past moment, for business journey.

Airlines make a ton of cash from very last-minute quality cabin bookings

With the probability that somebody will fork out hard cash for those people seats, the airline may possibly not launch as many award seats on the direct route, primarily at the “Saver” or most affordable level. By permitting someone else guide that same seat “for free” on an award reserving, the airline could eliminate out on revenue.

Even so, that similar seat may be presented on a married phase with a connecting flight at a decreased price tag. 

Let’s take a glimpse at an case in point. Suppose you dwell in Toronto and you’d like to fly to Paris. A single of the selections is to fly with Air France working with Air France/KLM Flying Blue.

A lookup for your preferred date brings a immediate flight in between Toronto and Paris at a price of 70,000 miles.

One more place you have been pining to go to is Sofia, Bulgaria, so you determine to look at the availability to there. Curiously, the price tag truly drops to 55,000 miles, even however you’d be on the exact identical flight amongst Toronto and Paris.

There are a host of illustrations of married segments, and the only way to obtain them is to forged a large research net to a variety of locations. Notice that there may perhaps be other things, these types of as dynamic pricing, at play as well.

Even though many airlines use married segments, the adhering to checklist involves some carriers usually acknowledged to use the logic with award bookings:

  • Air Canada
  • Air France/KLM
  • Austrian Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Delta
  • Etihad Airways
  • Lufthansa
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Swiss
  • Faucet Air Portugal
  • United Airlines

Can You Split Up a Married Phase?

In limited, the answer is generally no. Even though there are certainly exceptions to the rule, in the huge the vast majority of cases, a married segment itinerary will have to stay as at first booked.

You may well believe that booking a married segment and then hacking it up into two pieces would be a savvy way to get what you want. Regrettably, it doesn’t quite operate that way.

One particular motive that married segments can’t be split up is that airways can concern penalties to ticketing agents who never follow their fare regulations. These penalties are called “Agency Debit Memos” or “ADMs”.

If an agent split up a married phase to achieve entry to booking lessons that are if not unavailable on the unique routes, the airline could strike again with an ADM.

The precise price tag of the ADM can change, but an illustration could be the big difference in fare concerning the initial married segments and the two folks segments, additionally a penalty of $300 for every segment per passenger.

This will come out of the agency’s revenue, so it’s certainly not in their greatest fascination to be breaking any rules. Remember this the next time you are on the mobile phone with an Aeroplan agent who can not break up up your married section even with their finest endeavours. 😉

Can Married Segments Be Effective?

Generally speaking, married segments never definitely perform in the consumer’s interest. Soon after all, acquiring the very same seat readily available for distinctive selling prices does not appear reasonable.

Even so, married segments can get the job done in your favour if you’re originating or arriving in a put which is not an airline’s major hub. You may well be additional most likely to reward from married segments if you have to choose a connecting flight to get to where by you want to go.

Married segments could advantage all those who vacation to or from lesser marketplaces that constantly demand a connecting flight.

One follow you could have heard of is hidden-metropolis ticketing. This is the apply of reserving flights devoid of the intention of getting each phase, in an effort and hard work to rating a offer.

The identical observe could be used to married segments. If you are in a position to get an award seat on a connecting flight, you could make your mind up to miss out on the very last flight and stay in the metropolis to which you required to fly in the 1st location.

In the Air France instance over, you could e-book the Toronto–Paris–Sofia itinerary for 55,000 Flying Blue miles and then mysteriously fall ill and pass up your flight in Paris, with the silver lining of conserving by yourself 15,000 miles in contrast to only scheduling the Toronto–Paris direct flight.

This does not come without challenges, however, and I wouldn’t propose making a routine of it.

A person danger is that the airline could revoke your regular flyer miles and/or elite status, if you continuously skirt fare and ticketing regulations by strategically lacking flights.

The airline controls who may well use loyalty applications, and because techniques like breaking up married segments or skipping segments on goal violates their deal of carriage, it could outcome in you dropping your details and/or standing privileges.

A different possibility is that in the occasion of irregular operations, the airline is only obligated to get you to your closing location. In this regard, you run the possibility of not finding to your meant vacation spot, which could be really considerably away.

If you skip a phase on a round-trip flight, the relaxation of your scheduling is typically forfeited. Consequently, this type of exercise is very best reserved for a person-way bookings.

Lastly, if you examine a bag that is by way of-checked to your last destination, you’ll be without the need of your bag if you strategy on exiting your journey partway by. While you could ask for for your bag to be brief-checked to the intermediate issue, there is no guarantee that your desire will be granted.


Married segments are a person of lots of finer intricacies of the airline entire world. Whilst there are some instances where they may do the job in your favour, that is normally not going to be the scenario.

This is legitimate with equally hard cash and award bookings. Certain to award bookings, it may be much more hard to come across award house on immediate flights, while the very same flight may well be offered as element of a married segment.

If you just cannot discover your perfect award flight, consider wanting at destinations that would call for a connecting flight. You may perhaps be stunned each with the award availability in a married section, as well as getting a place you may not have considered browsing just before.

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