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

Old Jun 10, 2015, 2:33 pm
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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 customer’s 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 you’re 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

We’re 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.

Print Wikipost

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

Old May 25, 2021, 6:44 pm
  #256  
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Originally Posted by uclacolumbiaunc
I just heard that AA does not through check bags even if both flights are operated/marketed by AA? is this true? I am considering booking HNL-PHX first class on 777 using BA avios, and then pay cash PHX-SNA in economy (my real destination is SNA and there is sufficient connection time in PHX cuz AA sells the same routing, just with much higher fare).

So AA won't check my bags from HNL to SNA even if both flights are operated by AA?
This is correct. They will not.
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Old May 25, 2021, 9:24 pm
  #257  
 
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Originally Posted by uclacolumbiaunc
I just heard that AA does not through check bags even if both flights are operated/marketed by AA? is this true? I am considering booking HNL-PHX first class on 777 using BA avios, and then pay cash PHX-SNA in economy (my real destination is SNA and there is sufficient connection time in PHX cuz AA sells the same routing, just with much higher fare).

So AA won't check my bags from HNL to SNA even if both flights are operated by AA?
Originally Posted by Antarius
This is correct. They will not.
See the exception in the wiki, which appears to apply to this case:

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


Except the same PNR may be an issue; I didn’t know it was even possible to have an award and cash ticket in the same PNR.
ashill is offline  
Old May 26, 2021, 4:49 am
  #258  
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Originally Posted by ashill
See the exception in the wiki, which appears to apply to this case:

Except the same PNR may be an issue; I didn’t know it was even possible to have an award and cash ticket in the same PNR.
Yea, the same PNR will definitely be an issue, in order for that exception to come into play you have to book both flights at the same time so they can be in the same PNR. And both booked through AA obviously.

And while I've never tried it personally, my gut tells me you could call AA 10 times trying to do that but more times than not they wouldn't have a clue how to do it or would tell you it's not possible, etc.

Bottom line, on an Avios award HNL-PHX + PHX-SNA paid ticket AA is not checking bags through.
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Old May 29, 2021, 1:37 am
  #259  
 
Join Date: May 2012
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Per policy, the max weight for checked bags is 100 pounds (45 kilograms). In some circumstances, AA Cargo is an option for items weighing more than 100 pounds.

A heavy bag is any bag that is greater than or equal to 50 pounds.

Per policy, bags equal to or heavier than 70 pounds cannot be checked to or from;

-All translantic travel
-Australia
-New Zealand
-Cuba
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Old Jun 1, 2021, 1:39 pm
  #260  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 151
How early can I check bags?

I’m Flying within the US - out of TPA - can I check my bags at 8pm for an 8am flight? I’m staying at the airport and one less thing to worry about as I have multiple car seats and bags
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Old Jun 1, 2021, 2:31 pm
  #261  
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Originally Posted by wesbob
I’m Flying within the US - out of TPA - can I check my bags at 8pm for an 8am flight? I’m staying at the airport and one less thing to worry about as I have multiple car seats and bags
AA will not check in bags the night before.
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Old Jun 1, 2021, 4:22 pm
  #262  
 
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Originally Posted by wrp96
AA will not check in bags the night before.
why? Tampa is not listed as one who will not accept bags more than 4 hours?
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Old Jun 1, 2021, 4:48 pm
  #263  
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Originally Posted by wesbob
why? Tampa is not listed as one who will not accept bags more than 4 hours?
For starters, allowing pax to check bags in the day before their flight opens up a host of issues for an airline, including additional site/storage/personnel requirements, security issues, higher chances for theft or loss, etc. etc.

As a general rule AA will not check bags the day before a flight as mentioned above.

The cities with the "4-hour" rule are cruise/ski/tourist destinations, while you can't check bags more than 4 hours in advance in those cities you still have to check them in same-day, i.e. you can't get off a cruise at Port Everglades at 8am with a flight out of FLL at 6pm and expect AA to hold on to your bags all day while you hit the beach.
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Old Jun 8, 2021, 8:00 am
  #264  
 
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outbound in J, return in Y

I am about to book an award ticket for a family member without status NYC-MIA-BCN, BCN-MIA-NYC. I know there is a rule that states that for tickets originating in the US that the baggage allowance of the first flight on the ticket applies to all other flight in the same ticket. So does this mean that if I book him in J on the outbound and in Y for the return that he will have the J allowance of 2 bags x 32kg for the return flights as well? I would like to know for sure before booking the ticket.

Thanks
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Old Jun 8, 2021, 8:44 am
  #265  
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Originally Posted by acf1270
I am about to book an award ticket for a family member without status NYC-MIA-BCN, BCN-MIA-NYC. I know there is a rule that states that for tickets originating in the US that the baggage allowance of the first flight on the ticket applies to all other flight in the same ticket. So does this mean that if I book him in J on the outbound and in Y for the return that he will have the J allowance of 2 bags x 32kg for the return flights as well? I would like to know for sure before booking the ticket.

Thanks
No, he would have the business allowance on the outbound, and the coach allowance on the return.
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Old Jun 8, 2021, 4:46 pm
  #266  
 
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Questions on luggage with two separate tickets

Hi,

If I book (either with cash or miles) a AA economy flight from Toronto to Chicago, and have an Alaska award on JL F from Chicago to Tokyo on the same day:

1) What is my luggage allowance on the first flight?

2) Do I need to obtain my luggage from the carousel in ORD and recheck the luggage, or can the agent in Toronto check it all the way to Tokyo?

3) I believe YYZ has a US pre-clearance so I would arrive in ORD as a domestic passenger. How much time should I budget if I have to recheck the luggage in ORD?

Trying to decide if there is any advantage of booking the first leg with AA (instead of UA or AC).

Thanks!
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Old Jun 8, 2021, 5:51 pm
  #267  
 
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I think these are right, someone will correct me if they are not

1) What is my luggage allowance on the first flight? - Your JL flight will not get you any allowance on your first flight. Assuming no status or anything, you get one free carry on and one free personal item.

2) Do I need to obtain my luggage from the carousel in ORD and recheck the luggage, or can the agent in Toronto check it all the way to Tokyo? - You will have to get your luggage in ORD, then go recheck it for JL. I do not believe AA will check bags through on a separate ticket.

3) I believe YYZ has a US pre-clearance so I would arrive in ORD as a domestic passenger. How much time should I budget if I have to recheck the luggage in ORD? - Every person is different, but I would probably budget at least two hours depending on what the baggage cutoff and check in is for JL. You have to go the baggage claim, pick up your bag, go the the JAL ticket counter (I believe JAL departs terminal 3, if it departs terminal 5, add even more time).
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Old Jun 8, 2021, 9:15 pm
  #268  
 
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Originally Posted by KBMIFlyer
I think these are right, someone will correct me if they are not

1) What is my luggage allowance on the first flight? - Your JL flight will not get you any allowance on your first flight. Assuming no status or anything, you get one free carry on and one free personal item.

2) Do I need to obtain my luggage from the carousel in ORD and recheck the luggage, or can the agent in Toronto check it all the way to Tokyo? - You will have to get your luggage in ORD, then go recheck it for JL. I do not believe AA will check bags through on a separate ticket.

3) I believe YYZ has a US pre-clearance so I would arrive in ORD as a domestic passenger. How much time should I budget if I have to recheck the luggage in ORD? - Every person is different, but I would probably budget at least two hours depending on what the baggage cutoff and check in is for JL. You have to go the baggage claim, pick up your bag, go the the JAL ticket counter (I believe JAL departs terminal 3, if it departs terminal 5, add even more time).
Since this is 2 different tickets...I would give yourself more than 2 hours...you need to get your luggage, exit, do you need to change terminals? And you will need to go through security and all that again. Since flights have been known to be delayed...I would give yourself 3--4 hours, if not more.
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Old Jun 8, 2021, 9:45 pm
  #269  
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AA should protect on separate ticket when one of the flight is AA and the other is AA/OW. However of course it would be a hassle if no other same-day options to Tokyo should YYZ-ORD be significantly delayed.
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Old Jun 24, 2021, 9:30 am
  #270  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Checked Through Baggage at Miami

We booked flights via BA to Orlando to fly in October, but all the flights are with American Airlines.

We are flying indirect Via Miami, so we are on AA39 from London to Miami then AA1695 to Orlando, we only have an 1 hour and 37 mins between flights.

We flew indirect previously on the same route but our first flight was BA.

As both flights are on American this time then would our bags be checked through?
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