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Old Sep 18, 07, 5:23 pm   #1
nnn
 
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UA/LH/A3 baggage thru-tagging

I posted this on the UA forum, but it doesn't look like I'm going to get any answers there, so am trying again here...


We are flying, on a single UA 016 ticket:

Outbound:
SFO-FRA UA
FRA-ATH A3 (operated by Aegean Airlines; codeshare using LH flight number)
ATH-SKG A3 (non-codeshare)

Return:
JMK-ATH OA (Olympic Airlines)
ATH-FRA LH (non-codeshare)
FRA-SFO UA

(Note that all of the above airports except SFO are Schengen airports.)

1) On the outbound, will UA be able to check the baggage all the way through to SKG? Also, if the bags are "checked through," will I still have to retrieve the them in FRA when clearing customs and immigration (because FRA-ATH and ATH-SKG are considered "domestic")? If the answer to both of these are "yes," then will a new weight limit potentially apply when I drop my bags back off with A3 in FRA, or will the fact that the bags were already "checked through" mean that they will not be weighed again?

2) Same questions for the return trip.

I know that the Aegean Airlines website does not list United Airlines as an interlining partner, but United sold me the above ticket, which includes segments on Aegean, so I thought maybe the list on the Aegean website was out of date.

Thanks again!
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Old Sep 19, 07, 2:59 am   #2
 
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I would think that checking through your luggage should work out without problems. UA is tightly integrated with LH, and LH is tightly integrated with A3.

You definitely do not have to retrieve your luggage at FRA if it is checked through in the civilised part of this world - you clear immigration and customs for your hand luggage at FRA, and customs for your checked luggage in Greece.

It is possible that you would have to retrieve your luggage at ATH before your domestic flight - never had a domestic flight in Greece, so I don't know. In Sweden you have to do it, in Germany not, so there is no universal rule in Europe.

I definitely do not think that there would be a new weight limit if everything is booked on one ticket.

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Old Sep 19, 07, 10:48 am   #3
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Thanks. And how very confusing!

So I will not have to pick up my luggage in FRA. But I might have to pick up my luggage in ATH.

Annoying, because my ATH layover is much shorter than my FRA layover.
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Old Sep 19, 07, 10:58 am   #4
 
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Originally Posted by nnn View Post
Thanks. And how very confusing!

So I will not have to pick up my luggage in FRA. But I might have to pick up my luggage in ATH.

Annoying, because my ATH layover is much shorter than my FRA layover.
I'd wait with being annoyed for a bit until someone who knows about Greece finds the time to pitch in.

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Old Sep 19, 07, 12:39 pm   #5
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Originally Posted by SmilingBoy View Post
I'd wait with being annoyed for a bit until someone who knows about Greece finds the time to pitch in.

SmilingBoy.
Well, I just spoke with a Lufthansa phone agent, who told me that I'd have to pick up the bags in Athens. The lady sounded like she was American, though, so I don't know whether I can totally trust that she knows all the nuances of European airports. I could be wrong, but it seemed like she was under the impression that you have to get your bag at the port of entry in any European country. You've already said this is not true for all countries, so maybe she didn't know what she was talking about.

We're actually leaving for this trip today, so I'll just have to trust what I'm told at the airport!

Thanks again for the help.
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Old Sep 20, 07, 1:31 am   #6
 
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Originally Posted by nnn View Post
Well, I just spoke with a Lufthansa phone agent, who told me that I'd have to pick up the bags in Athens. The lady sounded like she was American, though, so I don't know whether I can totally trust that she knows all the nuances of European airports. I could be wrong, but it seemed like she was under the impression that you have to get your bag at the port of entry in any European country. You've already said this is not true for all countries, so maybe she didn't know what she was talking about.

We're actually leaving for this trip today, so I'll just have to trust what I'm told at the airport!

Thanks again for the help.
Let us know how it turned out. Will be useful to know in future.

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Old Sep 25, 07, 5:32 am   #7
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Apologies for not replying sooner - I only just saw this thread.

I am of the understanding that bags should go through all the way to Salonika (SKG). I have not done it before as I have only ever taken a different airline for my internal flights within Greece.

I was going to suggest visiting http://www.aia.gr/ for any info. Hopefully this isn't too late for you.
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Old Oct 5, 07, 10:20 am   #8
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Well, I just wanted to post the final answer after my trip.

I heard three different stories from agents at various airports, and nearly missed my connection trying to listen to their incorrect information.

It turns out that UA does interline with Aegean (and Olympic, too, incidentally). My bag got tagged at SFO all the way through to SKG.

The bottom line is that there was no need to retrieve the bags at either FRA or ATH. The first time I needed to get the bags were at SKG. (As a reminder, the trip was SFO(UA)FRA(A3)ATH(A3)SKG.

Now, if you want the longer story: I was told that I would have to retrieve the bags at ATH, take them through customs, and check them back in. I waited at the belt in ATH, and only one of the two bags came out! I asked the Aegean agent, who quite rudely told me to just put the bag back on the belt (!), and someone would pick it up and put it on the flight to SKG. I asked, what happened to the bag that never came out? He said "there is no magic." So, basically, it turns out that one bag got "intercepted" before ending up on the ATH belt, and the other mistakenly ended up on the ATH belt, but even that bag would have been picked up off the belt after it was left behind. Strange system they have in ATH, I tell you. Anyhow, we get to SKG, and the bags do not come out on the belt. We were thinking they never made it, of course. Luckily, we caught up with the Aegean Air baggage agent, who was almost out the door on her way home (we were on the last flight of the night). She directed us through the bowels of SKG airport to the customs area, where our two bags were sitting on another belt, all alone. Basically, the ground crew at SKG knew from the baggage tags that these bags had not cleared customs, so they did not come out on the ordinary domestic belt. Of course, we would have had no way to know this, had we not been so lucky as to catch up with the lady.

Bottom line, we got our bags, but after a lot of running around and stressful moments!
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Old Oct 5, 07, 10:28 am   #9
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Just out of curiosity, though...why didn't you opt for a direct A3 FRA-SKG as opposed to changing at ATH?
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Old Oct 24, 07, 6:22 pm   #10
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Originally Posted by graraps View Post
Just out of curiosity, though...why didn't you opt for a direct A3 FRA-SKG as opposed to changing at ATH?
Because I took the later (6 PM) SFO-FRA flight, which got in too late to connect to the FRA-SKG nonstop. Had I taken the earlier SFO-FRA flight, I could have taken the FRA-SKG nonstop, as you suggested.
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Old Oct 24, 07, 8:02 pm   #11
 
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Which frequent flyer program did you put your A3 flights on? LH, I hope!
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Old Oct 25, 07, 12:48 pm   #12
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Which frequent flyer program did you put your A3 flights on? LH, I hope!
I didn't put those two flights on any program, although I did put two later intra-Greece flights on A3's own program. I didn't really put much thought into it, because I don't plan on collecting miles in LH or visiting Greece again anytime soon.
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