Virtual interlining

Virtual interlining involves combining flights between airlines that don’t have interlining agreements to give travelers more connecting options and often cheaper fares.

In case of virtual interlining, OTAs basically sell tickets for a string of single flights instead of a single ticket for two (or more) connecting flights. So passengers are responsible for self-transfer, i.e., they have to re-claim and recheck their baggage, as well as go through security checkpoints and passport control. Also, they are not allowed to use the customs-free transit zones.

Virtual interlining was introduced in 2012 by the Czech startup Kiwi.com and backed up by such tech providers as Dohop and Air Black Box.

Managed virtual interlining or third-generation interlining enables partnerships between full-service carriers (FSCs) and low-cost carriers (LCCs) who, in this way, can avoid the complicated procedures of the IATA framework. Such platforms integrate with an airline’s system via APIs, creating a layer to connect the carrier directly to other FSCs, LCCs, and multiple data sources. This allows for expanding networks, establishing new routes, and cross-selling seats and ancillaries without numerous commercial agreements.