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FAQ: Baggage / Luggage Rules, Allowance, Through-check on AA & Other Airlines

Old Jun 10, 2015, 2:33 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: Prospero
How much am I allowed?

Can I check it through?

Im on award travel...

How long can my connection be to through check? Etc.


Link to American Airlines' policy on through checking baggage as of 1 Sep 2016.

Notice that different protocols are followed in IROPS / OSO conditions.

Code:
Through Checked Baggage Policy (AA, 1 Sep 2016)

To align American Airlines (AA) with our oneworld partners
and to reduce baggage mishandlings, we will now only through
check customers and baggage when all the tickets are in the same PNR.

Through check-in will be honored between the following carriers only:
  • Code:
    American Airlines and American Eagle
  • Code:
    oneworld airlines and affiliates


Code:
What if I have separate tickets in the same PNR for itineraries
with American to a non-oneworld carrier?

Our policy on American to non-oneworld airline tickets has not changed.
We will not through check customers or bags even if the tickets are in
the same PNR.

What would be the bag charges if the customer holds separate tickets
in separate PNRs?

American will not through check a customers bag, regardless if it is
a oneworld carrier. The customer will need to collect their bag at
the final destination on the AA ticket. They will pay for the bag on the
second ticket when they recheck it. This may involve exiting the secure
area, then claiming and re-checking the bags. The Minimum Connecting
Time (MCT) will usually not be sufficient when the customer has separate
tickets issued for each airline.

International flights will usually require claiming bags, clearing
customs and rechecking bags on another carrier to be continued to
their next destination.

What will customers be charged if we can through check the bag?

The charges would depend on what tickets the customer holds in the same PNR.

Do JetBlue (B6) and our other codeshare/interline partners count as affiliate airlines?

No, the oneworld affiliate airlines are generally the regional partners
of the other oneworld carriers. If a customer held an B6 ticket and an
AA ticket in the same PNR we would not through check the bag. They
would need to reclaim then recheck their bag with B6.
EXCEPTION: "Customers traveling on separate tickets where one
segment is an award ticket and another has been purchased can
through-check bags. Travel must be on American or oneworld partners,
and not on partners outside the oneworld alliance (like Etihad or Air
Tahiti Nui). Tickets much be in the same reservation."
-Gary Leff, Boarding Area

Link to FT thread: Separate PNR: oneworld AA, protection, through baggage issues as of 2016

Q. Can I check my baggage through?

YES: Due to new rules instituted by oneworld in June, and by AA 1 September of 2016, baggage between the fifteen oneworld airlines on the same PNR are required be through-checked.

NO: However, if the trip is booked ticketed separately, or with non-one world partners, through checking by AA will not occur; baggage will have to be recovered at baggage carousels landside and rechecked at the next operating airline's counter (depending on your initial operating carrier's policies about through-checking on separate booking).

On U.S.A. domestic or regional travel, you will have to retrieve your baggage and re-check the following day if your stop is overnight, or recheck, if your connection is 12 hours or longer. On international travel with overnight connections under the same PNR, you often will be able to through check (as long as the new ticket conditions are met).

If you are flying AA and a non-oneworld partner on separate PNR / tickets, you will have to recover and recheck baggage, particularly on separate PNRs. If there is no interline agreement between the airlines (e.g. AA and Spirit, Southwest, etc.) you will certainly be required to do so.

See Multi-Reservation Through-Checking across oneworld no longer required

See Australian Business Traveller article. (Link)

Q. If I'm connecting using AA on a single PNR but have a stopover at my connecting airport, can I check through or recheck?

AA will generally not through check bags or allow you to recheck bags if your layover exceeds twelve hours.

Q. Which carrier's rules apply?

Note: Checked baggage allowances may vary by status, class of service, origin or/and destination, type of baggage. Some AA affiliated credit cards allow one free checked bag on domestic travel - some up to four or eight passengers on the same itinerary.

A. It depends. On separate PNRs AA will collect baggage fees due, and the other airlines will collect what is due under their baggage policies.

On through-checked baggage, USDOT regulations require the marketing carrier of the initial segment baggage rules apply to USA originating (or ending, iirc) flights. E.g. flying QF as an AA codeshare, or QF connecting from AA marketed by AA, AA rules would apply. These take precedent of IATA rules if travel begins (or ends) in the USA.

For IATA governed international itineraries, baggage rules of the Most Significant / Prevailing Carrier apply:

In compliance with the new baggage policy issued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), free baggage allowance and extra baggage charges for tickets issued on or after 1 April 2011 which involve one or more flights provided by other airlines will be based on a new method. If your journey includes connecting flights with more than one airline, the baggage allowances and fees of the airline that operates the longer leg of the itinerary (MDC) will apply throughout the itinerary. For example, if you fly a transpacific leg with one carrier and a domestic leg with another, the baggage allowances and fees of the carrier that operated the transpacific leg would apply to the whole journey, regardless of which carrier issued the ticket. (Language from Cathay Pacific.)

The Most Significant Marketing Carrier (MSC) is:
  • For travel between IATA areas: The first carrier flying in between two of the IATA areas
  • For travel between IATA sub areas: The first carrier flying in between the sub areas
  • For travel within an IATA sub area: The first carrier crossing an international border


IATA divides Areas and sub-areas. For example:

Area: North America, Central and South America, Hawaii
Subareas:
  • Canada, Mexico
  • Caribbean
  • Central America
  • South America

Area: Europe, Middle East
Subareas:
  • Europe
  • Middle East
  • Africa


Area: Asia, Guam, Southwest Pacific
Subareas:
  1. Japan, Korea
  2. Southeast Asia
  3. South Asian Subcontinent / India
  4. Southwest Pacific
Q. Can I through check my baggage if I have an overnight stop?

That will probably depend on your first operating carrier. Some carriers have no problem with through checking bags if you're stopping overnight, e.g. Qatar Airways with an overnight in DOH, but AA uses a maximum of under 12 hours to determine whether you can through check or must recover bags on overnight stops. (However, ground agents may vary.)

Q. What are my AA and oneworld baggage allowances with [_______] status?

See here on aa.com for updates

A. Complimentary bags
In some cases, you won't have to pay the baggage fees for up to three 23 kg / 50 lb bags (32 kg / 70 lb some premium passengers). Find out if this applies to you. EXPs could have to three checked 32 kg / 70 lb bags.

1st checked bag is complimentary for:
  • Eligible AAdvantage Aviator and Citi / AAdvantage cardmembers (on domestic American Airlines operated flights)
  • AAdvantage Gold
  • oneworld Ruby
  • Alaska MVP members


1st and 2nd checked bags are complimentary for:
  • Platinum
  • oneworld Sapphire members
  • Alaska Airlines MVP Gold (AS is a oneworld member now)
  • Confirmed Business Class customers*


2nd and 3rd checked bags are complimentary for:
  • Confirmed First Class customers on 3-cabin aircraft*
  • AAdvantage Executive Platinum
  • oneworld Emerald, including Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75K
  • Active U.S. military and/or dependents with ID traveling on orders (1st - 5th bags free of charge)
  • Active U.S. military with ID on personal travel


Executive Platinum / oneworld Emerald are allowed one more checked bag:

*See AA reducing some checked baggage allowance tickets pchs on / after 29 Mar 2016

Note: on through baggage: oneworld policy no longer entitles checking baggage through when using oneworld flights when connecting on separetily ticketed segments. Only AA and MH will still through-check baggage with separate PNRS.

Q. Do I have extended baggage allowance as AAdvantage Executive Platinum / oneworld Emerald? (Yes, as of 1 Feb 2013

A. All oneworld Emerald customers, including AAdvantage Executive Platinums, will be entitled to an extra bag.

See:Customer Planning Advisory
Subject . . . APS 13002 Extra bag for oneworld Emerald

Date . . . . . . Effective: February 1st, 2013
Issued . . . . .January 31st, 2013

Overview . . .Extra bag for oneworld Emerald
. . . . . . . . . . To improve the travel experience for our top tier customers
. . . . . . . . . . we are pleased to offer all oneworld Emerald members
. . . . . . . . . . one extra bag in addition to their free allowance.

Detail. . . . . All oneworld Emerald customers, including AAdvantage
. . . . . . . . . . Executive Platinums, will be entitled to an extra bag.

. . . . . . . . . . Emeralds will have the following allowance:
. . . . . . . . . . First/Business 4 free pieces up to 70lbs (32kgs)
. . . . . . . . . . Main Cabin 3 free pieces up to 70lbs (32kgs)
. . . . . . . . . . This applies to both international and domestic travel
. . . . . . . . . . on/after 1st February.

Processing . Please override the excess baggage mask using the OT
. . . . . . . . . . code using the explanation Emerald. Automation for this
. . . . . . . . . . change will be in place later in the year.

<redacted issuing personnel>

Reference . . .APS13002


Q. How many bags can I check?

A. Check up to 10 bags if your trip is:
  • Domestic
  • Transatlantic
  • Transpacific


Check up to 5 bags if youre traveling to / through / from:
  • Mexico / Caribbean / Central America*See footnote
  • South America*See footnote


*There are seasonal and year-round baggage embargoes and restrictions


Q. Can I "split" my allowance? E.g. can I split a 23 kg / 50 lb per bag allowance and check two bags weighing up to 23 kg / 50 lb together?

A. No. Per bag weight maxima or number of bags allowed can not be shared or split.

Q. What are my Overweight Baggage Charges?

A. aa.com: Oversize and overweight baggage

Were pleased to say that your bag can weigh up to 70lbs./32kgs at no extra cost if you are:
  • First Class
  • Business Class
  • Executive Platinum
  • oneworld Emerald

If you are checking more than 3 bags charges will apply.*

Additionally:

Link to checked baggage policy

Link to oversized and overweight baggage policy AA has a "hard limit" of not accepting any baggage that exceeds 45 kg / 100 lb for check-in.


Q. Must I recover and re-check my bags arriving from another country?

A. If you are arriving in the U.S.A. from an international airport, it will depend:

1) If you check in at airports like AUH, DUB, YVR etc. where you process USCBP immigration and customs prior to boarding, your flight will arrive in the U.S. as a domestic flight. Your bag can be checked through (assuming other conditions mentioned above are met), you will be able to proceed to your next flight airside.

2) If you are otherwise arriving from an international airport, you will generally be required to pass USCBP immigration, recover your baggage at the indicated carousel and process through Customs. As you depart the Customs hall, you can re-check your baggage for your continuing flights prior to departing the airside part of arrivals. You will generally have to produce a valid boarding pass and pass through TSA Security to return airside to continue your travel.

3) DFW, MIA (only) in the USA allow through ("ITI") checking for certain passengers arriving internationally and departing on another international flight. This will result in an "ITI" (International to International) check with ITI sticker on your boarding pass, and baggage will not have to be collected and rechecked. ITI passengers may still be required to pass through immigration, exit through customs gate and pass back through security. See this FT thread.


Helpful resource links:

Link to American Airlines' policy on through checking baggage as of 1 Sep 2016. Notice that different protocols are followed in IROPS / OSO conditions.

AA: American Airlines a Checked baggage policy (includes infant assistive and medical devices, mobility devices, pets and specialty sports items).

See No More Multi-Reservation Through-Checking across oneworld

See Change to through-checking Oct 2014 (interlining) baggage on separate tickets

oneworld: oneworld Extra baggage allowance (status / class of service)

Please see FT: EXP / Emerald extended baggage / luggage allowance 1 FEB 2013 (master thread) if you are AA Executive Platinum / oneworld Emerald.


Link to archived thread with older posts.

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FAQ: Baggage / Luggage Rules, Allowance, Through-check on AA & Other Airlines

Old May 13, 2020, 3:38 pm
  #166  
 
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Originally Posted by mvoight
Ok. On AA elites get their standard baggage allowance when traveling on a Basic Economy fare. It looks as this is not the same for BA. As you are checking in with AA for the return I assume you would get 2 bags no matter which AA fare category your were in
but none on the outbound? Aa ticket but Ba are Basis with o and a class?
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Old May 13, 2020, 3:43 pm
  #167  
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Originally Posted by mvoight
I meant for the AA return, BASIC would get a bag
I am unclear on your question. You mentioned Basic economy, but aren't the fares you mentioned not Basic?
On a regular, non basic BA fare, you would get 2 bags as sapphire.
Originally Posted by Nephoi
i booked b class first , cancelled and and have now booked the above. Cause aa rep told me in main cabin and anything but b class, there will be a checked bag for ow sapphire. I just wanted to be sure...
Originally Posted by Nephoi
but none on the outbound? Aa ticket but Ba are Basis with o and a class?
Have you booked AA and/or BA basic fares?
Have you booked with BA or AA?
BA or AA flight numbers?
BA or AA operated flights? BER-LHR-JFK-LAX will be BA/??/AA operated

AA & BA have different rules for basic fares (which seems silly for JV's, but that's the way it is)
BA----> AA/BA/AY/IB Long Haul basic unbundled / HBO fares announced
AA---->https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/amer...er-thread.html

Last edited by Mwenenzi; May 13, 2020 at 3:50 pm
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Old May 13, 2020, 3:50 pm
  #168  
 
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi
Have you booked AA and/or BA basic fares?
Have you booked with BA or AA?
BA or AA flight numbers?
BA or AA operated flights? BER-LHR-JFK-LAX will be BA/??/AA operated

AA & BA have different rules for basic fares (which seems silly for JV's, but that's the way it is)
BA----> AA/BA/AY/IB Long Haul basic unbundled / HBO fares announced
AA---->https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/amer...er-thread.html
its not basic economy anymore, its "main cabin"
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Old May 13, 2020, 4:02 pm
  #169  
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Originally Posted by Nephoi
its not basic economy anymore, its "main cabin"
Main cabin can also mean "economy cabin or coach" as distinct from a fare with conditions. Need to be careful with jargon

That's not the same route as post 1
Nephoi likes this.
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Old May 13, 2020, 4:09 pm
  #170  
 
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi
Main cabin can also mean "economy cabin or coach" as distinct from a fare with conditions. Need to be careful with jargon

That's not the same route as post 1
i dont see any difference in the routing. It its already late here ...
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Old May 13, 2020, 4:24 pm
  #171  
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Your baggage allowance is determined by marketing carrier of the first segment. If that is BA, then you will have the BA allowance for the entire ticket.
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Old May 13, 2020, 5:43 pm
  #172  
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mispost
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Old May 13, 2020, 9:29 pm
  #173  
 
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Originally Posted by Often1
Your baggage allowance is determined by marketing carrier of the first segment. If that is BA, then you will have the BA allowance for the entire ticket.
Originally Posted by Often1
Your baggage allowance is determined by marketing carrier of the first segment. If that is BA, then you will have the BA allowance for the entire ticket.
That's not always true? Most significant carrier rule could play a role (for the baggage allowance on ticket) plus elite allowances / credit card waivers that can differ depending on which airline you use to checkin/flying

In this case, most significant carrier rule/baggage allowance sold on ticket is 0 (basic fare, no luggage allowance)

Elite allowances/credit card waiver - when flying on AA, AA provides baggage waiver for any oneworld sapphire even basic fare

When flying on BA, BA provides baggage waiver for any oneworld sapphire except for basic fares

When doing a two-segment leg (eg AAA-BBB-CCC, BBB being a short layover and each legs are operated by different airlines, you should get the baggage allowance (ticket allowance+elite/credit card waiver) based on airline for AAA-BBB leg when you check in at AAA
if it's not a short layover or you have to switch airports, this means you have to check in at BBB and airlineBBB's policy would apply

Last edited by paperwastage; May 13, 2020 at 9:41 pm
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Old May 13, 2020, 9:56 pm
  #174  
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That is also not entirely true - For journeys to/from the USA

The marketing carrier of the 1st flight chooses whether to apply its baggage allowance policy or defer to that of the most significant marketing carrier. The allowances at the start of journey apply to the entire journey and do not vary from checkin to checkin

In the example given, BA would be the narketing carrier of the 1st flight and the most signnificant carrier, so its allowances and fees apply

Looking at the fare OLN4T6B4 it states in the fare rules on Expert flyer
Originally Posted by EF
NOTE - THE FOLLOWING TEXT IS INFORMATIONAL AND NOT
VALIDATED FOR AUTOPRICING.
SPECIAL ECONOMY HAND BAGGAGE ONLY FARES
/ZERO BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE MUST BE DISCLOSED TO
CUSTOMER/
This fare would therefore seem to be one with no baggage allowance.
For travel on BA, there is no additiional baggage allowance for status on hand bagage only fares ( see https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb...age-allowances ) ; the fee for the 1st piece of luggage is EUR60 for Berlin to Los Angeles

On the return, BA's baggage policy and fees still apply but AA seems to allow additional allowance for status even on a hand baggage only fare; the additional allowance for sapphire status is 1 piece

This would be consistent with the 0 outbound and 1 inbound indicated
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Old May 13, 2020, 11:24 pm
  #175  
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
That is also not entirely true - For journeys to/from the USA

The marketing carrier of the 1st flight chooses whether to apply its baggage allowance policy or defer to that of the most significant marketing carrier. The allowances at the start of journey apply to the entire journey and do not vary from checkin to checkin
There are actually two more subtleties here:

1. The US DOT first marketing carrier / optional most significant carrier rules do not apply to bag fees waived for frequent flyer status -- usually the airline that you check in with will be the one who decides if they will waive the fee.
2. The US DOT holds that the baggage allowance specified on your receipt is legally binding and must be honored (for trips originating / terminating in the US). Historically, AA has printed its elite bag fee waivers as $0 on its receipts, whether by IT oversight or as a subtle way to be helpful to its frequent flyers. There have been stories of FlyerTalkers showing up at the airport and using that to get free bags (since it's legally binding). Just know it definitely will not happen automatically and you will probably have to fight a bit for it.

For the oneworld Atlantic Joint Business basic economy, the chart in this post is quite informative -- basically anything operated by BA gets no bags, as well as anything with a BA flight number. Usually pricing on the AA/BA/IB codeshares is quite similar (and sometimes AY), so it may be worth booking under a different code sometimes.
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Old May 15, 2020, 3:59 am
  #176  
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Outbound is a BA fare - No checked baggage on BA Basic Economy for all elites
Inbound is an AA fare - 2x23 kg Baggage Allowance ( for OW Sapphire )
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Old May 15, 2020, 4:20 am
  #177  
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Originally Posted by ISTFlyer
Outbound is a BA fare - No checked baggage on BA Basic Economy for all elites
Inbound is an AA fare - 2x23 kg Baggage Allowance ( for OW Sapphire )
The OLN4T.. fare is a round trip fare - if issued by AA, it is an AA fare - if issued by BA it is a BA fare - both airlines have identical economy fare bases

The baggage allowance is determined by DOT rules - if BA's allowance applies, it applies for the entire journey - the published allowance is zero bags if BA. BA does not give additional allowance for status on a hand baggage fare - AA does give status allowance even on fares with no baggage included.
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Old May 15, 2020, 4:33 am
  #178  
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
The OLN4T.. fare is a round trip fare - if issued by AA, it is an AA fare - if issued by BA it is a BA fare - both airlines have identical economy fare bases

The baggage allowance is determined by DOT rules - if BA's allowance applies, it applies for the entire journey - the published allowance is zero bags if BA. BA does not give additional allowance for status on a hand baggage fare - AA does give status allowance even on fares with no baggage included.
Mixing round-trip fares between AA/AY/BA/IB is permitted on most routes; the same applies for Star Alliance AC/LH/UA.

You could have a BA..XXXX fare on the outbound and have a AA..YYYY fare on the inbound.
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Old May 15, 2020, 5:13 am
  #179  
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Originally Posted by ISTFlyer
Mixing round-trip fares between AA/AY/BA/IB is permitted on most routes; the same applies for Star Alliance AC/LH/UA.

You could have a BA..XXXX fare on the outbound and have a AA..YYYY fare on the inbound.
Not on a round trip ticket you generally cannot. AA's OLN4T6B4 fare allows travel on both AA or BA. Given that AA and BA both offer OLN4T6B4 fares ( not surprising given it is a JB route iirc) , there is no reason, even if it could, to combine an AA fare and a BA fare

Regardless , on a single itinerary, the allowance will not be impacted by whose fare was used since it is flight carrier that determines allowances
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Old May 15, 2020, 11:59 am
  #180  
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
Not on a round trip ticket you generally cannot. AA's OLN4T6B4 fare allows travel on both AA or BA.
Personally, I have bought a mixed carrier ( in terms of fare ) before through ITA Matrix and Priceline.
In this case, AA obliges that on transatlantic fares, the transatlantic leg should be marketed by AA and in this case, the OP's LHR-JFK flight is clearly marketed by and operated by AA.

Originally Posted by Dave Noble
Given that AA and BA both offer OLN4T6B4 fares ( not surprising given it is a JB route iirc) , there is no reason, even if it could, to combine an AA fare and a BA fare
AA offers a wider selection of transfer options.
BA Exec Club members earn more Avios ( redeemable miles ) on BA marketed flights so the OP may have wanted to maximize miles when possible.

If you play with ITA Matrix a little bit and if you have the Powertools extension, you would be able to see that it's possible to book fare BA..OLN4T6B4 in one direction while booking AA.. OLN4T6B4 in the other one ( even on AA.com ) - Although the BA fare would be integrated a 001 stock AA ticket alongside with the return.

Originally Posted by Dave Noble
Regardless , on a single itinerary, the allowance will not be impacted by whose fare was used since it is flight carrier that determines allowances
By the way, I am not arguing about this; you should be right about this.
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