All Other Airlines Need to Adopt This Feature from Aeroplan!

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Partner Record Locator Number Aeroplan

Partner Record Locator Number Aeroplan

One of the great hassles of booking tickets with airline alliances and partners is that they often each have a separate reservation system. This means for example that you might book a ticket with airline A for travel on airline B, but their reservation number doesn’t work for airline B. Generally you need to manually call or tweet to get the correct number, but Aeroplan has fixed this.

My son and I are heading to Bangkok separately and I recently booked his plane ticket to get there. During the booking process I noticed something that is amazing. When you go to manage the booking on their site, you can then click to select a seat and they will provide you with the record locator number for each of the airlines on the reservation.

For example, on this ticket my son has travel with United, EVA and Thai Airways. Here is what that looks like.

In my son’s case EVA & Thai share a RL#, while United has its own. All of these numbers are different than the Aeroplan one as well. So basically his ticket has 3 different numbers, but Aeroplan makes it so easy to see all of them. No call needed!

Why Do This?

So why is it important to have all of your airline record locator numbers? Well, with that number you can go to each of the airline websites and assign seats. For multiple part itineraries with big stopovers you may also need these different numbers to check-in ahead of time. They aren’t always critical, but having them at your fingertips is empowering and makes things easier.


I’m not sure if any other airlines do this, but it is a feature they all should add soon! I think Aeroplan added this a year or two ago, but having just experienced it again I thought it was worth sharing. Do you know of any other airlines that let you see partner record locator numbers online? Let us know in the comments!


  1. Shawn – This is standard practice in the travel industry. Each airline/travel vendor has their own computer system they use to make bookings but all other carriers that are on the itinerary have their own internal systems so your initial booking has a PNR (Record Locator, RL) in the booking system but that system talks to the actual carrier which then provides it’s internal RL back in the confirmation message.

    In this case since Aeroplan is a separate company they have their own booking GDS (reservation system) which has to interact with the actual carriers booked. At one point Aeroplan was owned by Air Canada so if you booked through them for an AC flight it was the same RL. Then Air Canada divested Aeroplan but I understand they are re-acquiring it.

    I work for a global TMC and we use multiple GDS systems in different countries and based on client needs. For example in the US we use Sabre, Apollo and Amadeus but the actual booked segments are on different airlines so we have the actual carrier’s RL captured as well. In some cases like a booking on Sabre with booked flights on AA it’s the same RL since AA uses Sabre. We always provide our booking system PNR and the actual carrier PNR’s in our documentation for our clients.

    So I agree that everyone should clearly display this but I think in most cases (based on the responses already posted) everyone does. I’m in Europe right now on holiday and our miles/points booking was via Delta but initial outbound TransAtlantic was on Virgin so DL did provide the VS RL.

  2. United and *Alliance seem to handle this well. I really can’t understand what century BA is stuck in with their mishandling details like this.

  3. ANA has this feature when you make a partner booking: the operating carrier’s reference number is printed on the e-ticket. Not sure if there’s a way to view this without opening the e-ticket PDF from their site or from the email they send upon booking.

  4. United allows you to see this as well. I have a flight booked on Turkish Airlines with United Miles and United’s site shows the Turkish Airlines record locator.


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