Here at Skyscanner, we’re all about helping you have the best travel experience possible. And we know that saving money on flights is one easy way to make a happy traveller.
For that reason, sometimes we’ll show you what we call ‘mash-ups’.
What are mash-ups?
These are routes where you fly with different airlines, because it’s cheaper than booking with just one. For example:
If you wanted to fly London to New York, we might find it’s cheaper to fly out with British Airways and back with Virgin Atlantic, rather than buy a return ticket with one airline. This is called a ‘sum-of-one-way’ mash-up. Just in case you’re interested.
Another kind of mash-up is what we call a ‘self-transfer’ or a ‘non-protected transfer’. For example:
If you wanted to fly London to Sydney, we might find it’s cheaper to fly London to Dubai with Emirates, and then Dubai to Sydney with Qantas, rather than booking the whole route with one airline.
Pretty simple, right?
However, what’s really important to bear in mind is that mash-ups are NOT codeshares. A codeshare is when the airlines have an alliance. If anything goes wrong with the route — a delay, say, or a strike — those airlines will help you out at no extra cost. But mash-ups DO NOT involve an airline alliance. So if something goes wrong with a mash-up, it could cost you more money.
Are mash-ups better than other tickets?
It depends. Like we said, we’ll show you mash-ups if they’re cheaper, or sometimes we’ll show you them if they’re more convenient (such as, if the wait time between flights is shorter). However, like we also said, mash-ups can carry some risks.
Let’s say you booked that single from London to New York with British Airways, and then that single from New York to London with Virgin Atlantic. (That’s the sum-of-one-way mash-up we mentioned earlier). It’s unlikely, but if British Airways suddenly called a strike, you’d have to think carefully about what to do next. British Airways would compensate you for the flight out; however, Virgin Atlantic would not need to compensate you for the flight back.
Now, let’s say the strike was only a couple of days, and British Airways could fly you out after that. You’d have to decide whether to just have a shorter trip, or whether to change your Virgin Atlantic flight. If you change your Virgin Atlantic flight, they’ll charge you — after all, the British Airways strike wasn’t their fault.
The risks are similar, but a bit more complicated, for self-transfer flights. Plus, some of them are what we call protected, which means you’ll get some assistance if things go wrong; and some are what we call non-protected, meaning that if something goes wrong, you’ll have to pay more.
We’ve got a great guide to understanding the benefits, risks and your rights when it comes to self-transfer and non-protected transfer flights here.
How do I find a mash-up?
A-ha, that’s an easy one.
You just search for flights on Skyscanner as you normally would, and if we find a good mash-up, we’ll automatically show it to you.
All mash-ups are marked with a message explaining there are multiple bookings required.
If you see a mash-up you like, before you hit that ‘book’ button, we just want to make sure you know the ins and outs first. This bit is very important:
Make sure you open up all the different parts of your journey BEFORE you book your first flight to double check there's still availability. Flights can sell out quickly and we want to make sure you can complete your trip.
If you show me a mash-up, I book it, and it goes wrong, can Skyscanner get my money back?
Here’s the thing: we really want you to have a great travel experience. That’s the whole reason we’re here! We use our top-notch tech skills to analyse hundreds of flights and prices so we can show you good options for flights.
We provide this service for free BUT we don’t hold your booking. That's taken by the airline or travel agent you select so they are the best people to help you if you have any specific questions. What we can do is give you all the information we can upfront, so you can think carefully about it before you book.