From April 1, IATA's member carriers will adopt a new baggage allowances and charges policy for interline journeys proposed by the international body.
The new Baggage Rule Resolution 302, intended to standardise baggage policies for passengers flying multiple carriers, outlines that if the baggage provisions of the different carriers are not the same, the policies of the Most Significant Carrier (MSC) will apply. The MSC is defined as the first carrier crossing IATA Areas or Sub-areas.
IATA dissects the world into three areas: Area 1 covers the Americas, Area 2 covers Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Area 3 covers Asia-Pacific. These are subdivided into Sub-areas. Area 1 is divided into USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean Islands, Central America and South Americas. Area 2 is divided into Europe, Middle East and Africa. Area 3 is divided into Japan and Korea, Southeast Asia, India and Southeast Pacific (Australasia).
The MSC would be the first carrier flying the longest leg either between the three areas or the sub-areas. For travel within sub-areas, the policies of the carrier on the first international sector would apply. For example, flying from Beijing to Singapore via Hong Kong - all within a single sub-area - on Dragonair and Singapore Airlines, Dragonair would be the MSC as it would be the first to cross an international border.
For travel from Sydney to London via Hong Kong, for example, using both Qantas and Cathay Pacific, CX is the MSC since it is the carrier crossing between Area 3 and Area 2 (the longest leg).
For flights between Busan and Singapore via Hong Kong using Dragonair and Singapore Airlines, Dragonair is the MSC as it crosses from one Sub-area to another.
If the entire journey is with one carrier, then these policies do not apply.
IATA stated that this move was necessary because "more and more airlines were defining their own baggage allowances and charges depending on the number of bags checked, class of travel, frequent flyer status and routing. This created confusion for passengers." The organisation also acknowledged that the new policy will "affect only a small proportion of travellers."
For more information on baggage policies, contact the relevant carriers. For more information on the IATA resolution, visit www.iata.org.
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Just wonder if handling agents will be able to understand and apply these rules... Also how would airline A know which rules airline B implemented? Let's say one flies AKL-SYD with NZ connecting to a BA flight SYD-LHR... how would NZ in AKL know BA what BA rules are?
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1) Aren't there some contradictions in there about 'first' and 'longest' carrier being MSC?
2) Would this be better in the *A forum, perhaps with a link from here for those that are interested? We can then maybe find out whether *A are imposing different rules where it is an all-*A interline.
For example, flying from Beijing to Singapore via Hong Kong - all within a single sub-area - on Dragonair and Singapore Airlines, Dragonair would be the MSC as it would be the first to cross an international border.
I there an International border between Beijing and Hong Kong, then? Surely they're both in China (albeit HK is a Special Administrative Region requiring different [or no] Visas from the Mainland)?
The driver for this is to simplify things for the IATA industry members saving them costs, rather than for the public, although it is sold as a benefit to them as well.
This project was annouced last year and has seen the creation of a central database for carriers to reference the applicable baggage allowance both at the time of check-in but also at the time of booking (rather than relying on the old IATA reference books).
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced Automated Carrier Baggage Rules (ACBR), the latest project in IATA’s Simplifying the Business program. ACBR will provide a central database for interline baggage rules, enabling airlines, travel agents, and passengers to know what baggage rules will apply for any given itinerary.
IATA is partnering with the Airline Tariff Publishing Company (ATPCO), who will host the central database. IATA will populate the database by mobilizing airlines to submit their baggage rules to ATPCO by September 2010 for implementation in early 2011.
Travel agents and airlines that link to the new database through existing reservations and ticketing systems will enable passengers to receive baggage fee and allowance information at the time of booking.
Does this apply only if the interline travel is on same ticket (eg: 1 etix number)? I have 2 tickets purchase separately on 2 airlines, one short connection onDragonair followed by a 2nd ticket for long haul overwater leg on UA. Does this IATA rule apply?
If your journey is on two separate tickets, then it's technically not a connection and the rule doesn't apply. If you have two separate tickets for A->B and B->C, you are technically making one journey from A to B which finishes there, and then you start a brand new journey at B to go on to C. Anything that the first airline will do for you (other than giving your bag back to you at B) is generally by way of concession or goodwill.