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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.

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

Old Aug 8, 2022, 12:26 am
  #361  
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
Except that he is not connecting - he has a separate unconnected booking - It would seem that , unless travelling in business or 1st class, that there would be no lounge entitlement and any access would be reliant upon goodwill
I knew someone would try and make this point. We have been through this so many times before though, and it isn't required that it is same ticket.
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Old Aug 8, 2022, 12:43 am
  #362  
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Originally Posted by KARFA
I knew someone would try and make this point. We have been through this so many times before though, and it isn't required that it is same ticket.
Where is that documented such that the person can be assured that an agent at the AM lounge will grant admission when the passenger is not connecting but on separate tickets?
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Old Aug 8, 2022, 12:46 am
  #363  
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
Where is that documented such that the person can be assured that an agent at the AM lounge will grant admission when the passenger is not connecting but on separate tickets?


I am sorry life is too short to get in to yet another argument like this with you, and discuss the legal definition of the word "connecting".
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Old Aug 8, 2022, 8:46 am
  #364  
 
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Hi...want to make sure I'm understanding the baggage allowance. Flight is issued by JAL, flying premium Econ DFW-NRT-MNL. DFW-NRT is AA metal, NRT-MNL is on JAL metal and while ticketed as prem econ, it is in economy. I am OW Ruby due to gold status with AA...looks like prem econ on JAL gets two free checked bags. If I were to check a third bag, is that $200 per JAL or $100 for AA (since I'll be checking in with AA here in DFW). Thank you.
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Old Aug 8, 2022, 11:30 am
  #365  
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
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Last edited by lookatthenameyo; Aug 8, 2022 at 11:31 am Reason: Wrong thread
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Old Aug 8, 2022, 1:13 pm
  #366  
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Originally Posted by Mrgolfer21
Hi...want to make sure I'm understanding the baggage allowance. Flight is issued by JAL, flying premium Econ DFW-NRT-MNL. DFW-NRT is AA metal, NRT-MNL is on JAL metal and while ticketed as prem econ, it is in economy. I am OW Ruby due to gold status with AA...looks like prem econ on JAL gets two free checked bags. If I were to check a third bag, is that $200 per JAL or $100 for AA (since I'll be checking in with AA here in DFW). Thank you.
According to https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/...age-policy.jsp , the charge for the 3rd bag on AA for a transatlantic or transpacific journey is $200 , not $100. Would seem that the answer will be $200 regardless of whose baggage policies apply.
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Old Aug 9, 2022, 1:29 pm
  #367  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
According to https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/...age-policy.jsp , the charge for the 3rd bag on AA for a transatlantic or transpacific journey is $200 , not $100. Would seem that the answer will be $200 regardless of whose baggage policies apply.
Oops...you are correct, I looked at the AA chart too quickly. It would be $200. Thanks for the clarification and info.
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Old Aug 21, 2022, 1:28 pm
  #368  
 
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Did a quick search through the thread...simple question

Flying on BA tkt, one PNR, in F on BA and, as available on AA or business/first. I'm OWE. TPA/PHI/LHR/MIA/TPA

BA gives me a baggage allowance of 4 checked bags up to 70 lbs. each. Will AA honor this # and weight for the TPA/PHI and MIA/TPA segments? AS always does but have never positioned with AA. I think the rules are that AA will allow.

Thanks!
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Old Aug 21, 2022, 1:55 pm
  #369  
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Originally Posted by kileysmom
Did a quick search through the thread...simple question

Flying on BA tkt, one PNR, in F on BA and, as available on AA or business/first. I'm OWE. TPA/PHI/LHR/MIA/TPA

BA gives me a baggage allowance of 4 checked bags up to 70 lbs. each. Will AA honor this # and weight for the TPA/PHI and MIA/TPA segments? AS always does but have never positioned with AA. I think the rules are that AA will allow.
AA also allows for a 4th complimentary bag for Emeralds in F so you shouldn't have an issue.
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Old Aug 21, 2022, 3:56 pm
  #370  
 
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Many thanks! I am travelling with a friend who does not have status..will she get the same as she is on the same reservation...or will she get the standard 3 BA F or some diabolical (for ladies travelling for a month) teeny tiny 2 checked bags at no cost? Your knowledge is appreciated!
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Old Aug 23, 2022, 3:32 am
  #371  
 
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Through-check

Hello, I'm travelling from Dublin to Reno (Dublin-Heathrow-Los Angeles-Reno) on BA/BA/AA (all on one AA PNR) will my luggage be checked all the way through to Reno or will I have to collect in LAX and re-check (if so, how long does this process take).

I'm then flying Reno-Madrid on return sector (Reno-Los Angeles-Heathrow-Madrid) on AA/BA/BA (all on one AA PNR), would my luggage be checked all the way through to Madrid in Reno (would I have to re-check at LAX)?

Thanks.
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Old Aug 23, 2022, 3:39 am
  #372  
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Originally Posted by dr.sull
Hello, I'm travelling from Dublin to Reno (Dublin-Heathrow-Los Angeles-Reno) on BA/BA/AA (all on one AA PNR) will my luggage be checked all the way through to Reno or will I have to collect in LAX and re-check (if so, how long does this process take).

I'm then flying Reno-Madrid on return sector (Reno-Los Angeles-Heathrow-Madrid) on AA/BA/BA (all on one AA PNR), would my luggage be checked all the way through to Madrid in Reno (would I have to re-check at LAX)?

Thanks.
Your bags will be checked through to LAX - I suppose strictly speaking they may be checked to Reno but regardless you will have to pick them up at your first port of entry and then re-check them once you are through customs. There may be a re-check desk just after customs where you can bad drop for the LAX-Reno flight rather than take them all the way around to check in.

For the return your bags should be checked at Reno all the way through to MAD so you won't need to see them again until you arrive there.
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Old Aug 23, 2022, 11:41 am
  #373  
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Originally Posted by dr.sull
Hello, I'm travelling from Dublin to Reno (Dublin-Heathrow-Los Angeles-Reno) on BA/BA/AA (all on one AA PNR) will my luggage be checked all the way through to Reno or will I have to collect in LAX and re-check (if so, how long does this process take).
Your bags should be tagged all the way through to Reno BUT, you will have to clear immigration at LAX collect your bags, and then drop them off after exiting customs. Then reclear security. As to how long this takes, it depends on the day, your passport etc,.

I'm then flying Reno-Madrid on return sector (Reno-Los Angeles-Heathrow-Madrid) on AA/BA/BA (all on one AA PNR), would my luggage be checked all the way through to Madrid in Reno (would I have to re-check at LAX)?

Thanks.
On the return your bags will be checked through to MAD. You won't have to do anything at LAX but go from one gate to another. At LHR, you will have to reclear security.
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Old Aug 23, 2022, 12:26 pm
  #374  
 
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Originally Posted by wrp96
Your bags should be tagged all the way through to Reno BUT, you will have to clear immigration at LAX collect your bags, and then drop them off after exiting customs. Then reclear security. As to how long this takes, it depends on the day, your passport etc,.

.
Just to reemphasize- you just need to physically drop the bag, there is no need to interact with an agent. They will just check to see there is still a baggage tag, then take it from you and place it on the belt. Ive never seen a delay of more than 2-3 minutes. For the bag drop. Everything else can be a cluster.
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Old Sep 18, 2022, 5:52 am
  #375  
 
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Originally Posted by ernestnywang
Sorry to refer to some of the older posts. I think my case was somewhat related.

I had a problem 2 weeks ago, and wonder if anyone could help, so I would not have to deal with this again in the future. I will try to be concise, but please bear with me.

Original itinerary: PHL AA x/BOS AA x/JFK AA*/JL x/HND JL TSA, all on 1 ticket (AA-001 stock). The JFK-HND flight is AA-marketed and JL-operated. TSA, for those who don't know, is the smaller airport in TPE.

Transits in both BOS and JFK are 2~3 hours, but the one in HND is 16 hours and overnight (which is allowed airside). I departed from PHL on 18APR. The JFK-HND flight also departed on 18APR but arrived on 19APR, and the HND-TSA flight departed on 20APR.

I was able to do online check-in for all 4 flights (got all the PDF boarding passes) on 17APR on AA.com. When I went to PHL airport, I first tried the kiosk (just to see how far I could get). The kiosk only wanted to check me to HND, so I went to the Priority counter. The agent first started to check my documents needed for travel and kept asking things that didn't make sense to me. It took quite a while before I realized she was asking for entry documents for Japan (MySOS App, etc.). I told her I was going to Taiwan, not Japan, and I would stay airside overnight at HND. She told me she could not change what her screen asked her to check. I did raise my voice to tell her she was looking at the wrong set of requirements, but her reply was if I kept yelling, she would call security. After some time, she did get her supervisor over, and the guy from another counter also came to help.

At the end (way beyond bag check cutoff time) they were okay with me not filling out the form in MySOS, as long as I downloaded the app. However, they insisted they could only check my bag to HND, because AA would not check a bag overnight, domestic or international. Throughout the process (mostly because their confusion of the documents I needed to enter Taiwan, not Japan), I repeatedly asked them to short-check to JFK and I would re-check with JL desk at JFK, and they refused. They told me to recheck my bag at HND, even though I told them I would not be able to go landside at HND. They then told me I had 12 minutes before the gate would close and would really need to get going. I agreed, did my best, but still missed the flight.

I went to the AC and had a much better interaction there. The agent rebooked me to PHL AA x/LAX CI TPE (involuntary re-routing, no charge). To my surprise, my bag actually made the PHL-BOS flight, but because I would be waiting in PHL for 9 hours, my bag was returned to PHL by the next BOS-PHL flight and flew with me back to TPE.

The AC AAngel told me to write the problem I faced to AA Customer Relations. I did and just got a meaningless reply. The first 40% of the reply was sorry and comments had been shared internally. The other 60% of the reply was how I should have joined AAdvantage for more benefits. Heck, I am a CX Sapphire member!

I had some time in LAX FL. Since they have flights to Asia (or used to have) and in fact Japanese AAngels there, I decided to ask them again how I could have gotten the check-in agent to override the questions on her screen and check my bags to TSA. The Japanese AAngels discussed among themselves, looked over several things, and discussed with another supervisor-looking person who popped up at the FL, but their conclusion was:
1. Changing the final destination from HND to TSA used to be doable on the native Sabre system, but not with the Qik overlay now.
2. Short-checking to JFK would have been the solution, but this is supervisor's discretion, and most supervisors would not do it.
3. AA's system cannot through check a bag if the flight's departure time is more than 24 hours from the check-in time. [This one I seriously doubt.]
They were trying to ask another check-in agent veteran for comments, but they could not get an answer before i had to leave for the CI flight. I asked if I could have their email so they could let me know if they find anything new, but they couldn't give me their email. They were confident Customer Relations would be able to resolve this. Oh well...

So, I'm currently stuck. I only have status with oneworld. Since I can only fly Y, having status benefits is quite important. CX is almost not operational these days. My only TPAC option is AA+JL. I have no problem going from Taiwan to North America, as same-day connections at NRT are available 2 days a week. Going back though, the only option would be an overnight transit at HND. There are simply no same-day options these days, and NRT closes at night. If AA's system does not support it, and Japan still has entry restrictions, I will be out of oneworld option if I need domestic AA flight(s) before the JL flight. I also have a hard time believing AA had not checked anyone over an HND overnight transit before.

Before I write back to AA Customer Relations, I would like to ask if anyone knows of a way (refer to certain STAR file, etc.) to:
1) Have a bag checked overnight in a foreign transit point (HND in my case, but certainly there are people who do it at DOH, HKG, etc.?)
2) Have the agent add 1 more flight to the check-in list, so the system would ask for the documents for the correct final destination

I also wonder, how come AA's system had no problem checking me in online to TSA, but eventually recognized my final destination as HND by the time I got to the airport. I hope my playing with the kiosk did not change this.

Note: I did YQB AC x/YUL AC x/ORD JL x/HND JL TSA a few months ago, with very similarly timed flights (overnight transit at HND as well, and the HND-TSA flight was also 2 calendar days after), and the AC check-in agent at YQB had no problem with either document check or bag through-check.
Originally Posted by Microwave
This sounds like a very harrowing experience, and one that I reckon many folks don't encounter in their daily travels. That said, one should expect an airline to know how to handle these situations, even if they're rare.

My first instinct after reading this was to check what Timatic shows for requirements for an itinerary starting in the USA, terminating in the ROC ("Chinese Taipei" ), and transiting Japan (for argument's sake I chose Hong Kong SAR passport holder living in the USA, though I don't think residency and citizenship will actually impact the transit requirements for Japan). The notes that stood out to me for transiting Japan were:



This seems quite cut and dried to me: you are legal to transit HND without going landside for up to a 72 hour connection (!!), so there's nothing according to the transit rules that should prevent AA from doing what you've asked them to do. You should not need to prove eligibility to enter Japan, and most importantly (to me at least), given these flights were all booked in a single itinerary as legal connections, any decision by AA not to through-check the bags would be one of the airline's own choosing: from what I can tell, there's no rule from the authorities that would prevent you doing what you've asked to do, and (in this case) AA did issue the ticket, so whether it's a system limitation or something else, it's ultimately an AA choice not to check your bag through on a legal itinerary.

For next time, what I would probably do is this:
  • When booking, leave plenty of time at the transpacific departure point—at least 4 hours;
  • When arriving at your first airport of departure, arrive plenty early (at least 3 hours), and bring a printout of the Timatic requirements for your specific situation and scenario. When you get to the counter to check your bag, don't get heated when the first agent invariably tries to check your bags to Japan. Press firmly but politely on the fact that everything was booked as one itinerary, with all legal connections, and that you've met all the requirements in Timatic for the journey. If they refuse to either 1) through-check to the final destination (preferred), or 2) short-check to your transpacific departure airport (next preferred), then I would suggest just "winging it" and have them check the bag the way they want to, and proceed to the next step.
  • Upon arrival to your transpacific departure airport, if AA short-checked here, go get the bag and check it to your final destination with the operating carrier. If AA checked it to the transpacific arrival airport only, go speak to the transpacific operating carrier directly, explain the situation calmly, sticking to just the relevant facts and ask if they can find the bag and retag it to your final destination (e.g. "I booked XXX-JFK-HND-YYY and AA would only check the bags to HND; I won't be going landside so is there any possible way you can intercept the bag here and retag it to YYY?"). In your situation above, had you given up the argument at your departure airport with enough time to make your flights, and done this at JFK, I think this would have had a decent chance of working out in your favour.
  • If by chance the transpacific operating carrier also refuses to help at the transpacific departure airport, I'd take the flight as scheduled, and speak to an agent at the transpacific arrival airport after deplaning without going landside, and once again explain the situation and advise that you need help getting someone to find your bag and tag it to your final destination since you won't be able to go landside to get it and recheck. At this point, because the connections are all legal and you're not going to go get the bag, it seems to me that the operating carrier won't have a lot of wiggle room and will need to help track down the bag and check it through to the final destination.

I realise none of this is perfect, and it's just my take and may not actually help... but it's the best advice I can think of.
Originally Posted by wrp96
The problem wasn't the overnight transit, the problem was the over 12 hour connection. They should've been able/willing to short check to JFK, though. If at all possible, and I understand with current schedule limitations it may not be possible, if starting with AA, try to avoid greater than 12 hour connections.
Originally Posted by ernestnywang
Thank you very much for the help, Microwave! I indeed forgot to check the transit rules on TIMATIC, relying only on the IATA travel map for entry requirements. I did wish they would allow me to short-check to JFK, but unfortunately it was a firm no. If I had made the flight, yes, I would proceed to JL counters at JFK (first) and HND (if JFK didn't work) for help.

It seems CX will significantly boost operations later this year, and hope CX will be a viable option again. Still, though, if I need an overnight transit at HKG (< 24 hours) and the first segment is AA, I may run into the same problem.

So do we know if there is a definitive 12-hour system limit also applies to foreign airports, as long as one checks in with AA? Anyone had any experience with DOH, HKG, etc.?
Originally Posted by wrp96
Yes, AA has a definitive 12 hour system limit for both domestic and international. Agents can waive it but you shouldn't book any itinerary starting with AA that relies on the agent being willing to do so.
Just want to report back that I finally got a passable response from AA. At least I feel this time they understood my concern, even if they didn't fully resolve this issue.

Hope I will not need to go through this again, but also hope that in the event I have to, the AA system will know to check through certain international destinations for transits > 12 hours (but within 24 hours, ofc).

Thank you to Microwave and wrp96 once again!

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