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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 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 Sep 29, 2022, 12:41 am
  #376  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,124
Baggage Allowance on OneWorld partner airline flight (AA redemption ticket)

Does the issue still exist where an AA redemption ticket does not indicate the correct (or any) luggage allowance ? Just issued a ticket for a Qatar operated flight and Qatar says American Airlines did not indicate any luggage allowance. Called AA and supposedly they put in a note to say that my check in allowance would be 25kg (per Economy Classic). Then called Qatar again, which says they cannot see the note as yet. What else to do ?
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Old Oct 24, 2022, 11:16 am
  #377  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: New York
Programs: AA EXP, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Titanium
Posts: 262
I'm considering flying JFK -> LAX -> HND in separate tickets, where JFK -> LAX and LAX -> HND are both AA flights. (Booking them as one itinerary causes the price to triple)

If I'm reading this correct - even though all flights are AA, they won't through check my bags to HND, right? I'd still need to collect my bags at LAX and check them again at the counter?
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Old Oct 24, 2022, 11:21 am
  #378  
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Originally Posted by Martellus
I'm considering flying JFK -> LAX -> HND in separate tickets, where JFK -> LAX and LAX -> HND are both AA flights. (Booking them as one itinerary causes the price to triple)

If I'm reading this correct - even though all flights are AA, they won't through check my bags to HND, right? I'd still need to collect my bags at LAX and check them again at the counter?
Correct. Allow enough time at LAX to claim your bags and check in again.
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Old Oct 24, 2022, 11:55 am
  #379  
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Originally Posted by Martellus
I'm considering flying JFK -> LAX -> HND in separate tickets, where JFK -> LAX and LAX -> HND are both AA flights. (Booking them as one itinerary causes the price to triple)

If I'm reading this correct - even though all flights are AA, they won't through check my bags to HND, right? I'd still need to collect my bags at LAX and check them again at the counter?
Separate tickets is not the problem. AA will through-check bags on separate tickets if both tickets are on a single PNR. A skilled travel agent should be able to book two separate tickets on a single PNR, but you might incur a fee if you book through an agent.
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Old Oct 28, 2022, 11:02 am
  #380  
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: London, UK
Programs: AS MVP Gold 75K, Marriot Platinum
Posts: 614
I have an award flight booked through AS. SEA-DFW-CVG. All one PNR, one ticket. SEA-DFW is AS flight, landing at 11:53pm. The DFW-CVG leg is at 10:21am the next morning. Less than 12 hours, but it is overnight. I know AS would let me check through to CVG if the second flight was AS. However, I've never done this with AA in the mix.

AS boards seem to think I can check all the way through still. Any guidance from AA on this? Wiki seems to imply overnight stops are not allowed. So maybe it is up to AS to hold the luggage overnight and check it?

Thanks in advance.
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Old Oct 28, 2022, 11:13 am
  #381  
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Originally Posted by Bellerina
I have an award flight booked through AS. SEA-DFW-CVG. All one PNR, one ticket. SEA-DFW is AS flight, landing at 11:53pm. The DFW-CVG leg is at 10:21am the next morning. Less than 12 hours, but it is overnight. I know AS would let me check through to CVG if the second flight was AS. However, I've never done this with AA in the mix.

AS boards seem to think I can check all the way through still. Any guidance from AA on this? Wiki seems to imply overnight stops are not allowed. So maybe it is up to AS to hold the luggage overnight and check it?

Thanks in advance.
It depends totally on AS's rules as that is who you will check in with. If you were flying AA all the way, the bags would be checked through because the layover is less than 12 hours - overnight or not.
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Old Nov 15, 2022, 7:59 am
  #382  
 
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Posts: 1,147
I have two tickets on separate PNRs xxx-CLT / CLT-yyy. All flights are domestic in continental US. They may either both be AAdvantage awards or one award/one paid.

Will AA through check my bags or do I have to collect and recheck in CLT? I’m EXP if that matters.

If the tickets need to be in the same PNR, can AA merge the two tickets?

Thanks!
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Old Nov 15, 2022, 8:11 am
  #383  
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Originally Posted by HofstraJet
I have two tickets on separate PNRs xxx-CLT / CLT-yyy. All flights are domestic in continental US. They may either both be AAdvantage awards or one award/one paid.

Will AA through check my bags or do I have to collect and recheck in CLT? I’m EXP if that matters.

If the tickets need to be in the same PNR, can AA merge the two tickets?

Thanks!
No, AA will not check bags through across separate PNR's, and no, you can't merge the 2 PNR's. So allow enough time in CLT to claim your bags and check in again.
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Old Nov 15, 2022, 11:30 am
  #384  
 
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Originally Posted by JJeffrey
No, AA will not check bags through across separate PNR's, and no, you can't merge the 2 PNR's. So allow enough time in CLT to claim your bags and check in again.
Thank you. That’s what I feared was the case.
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Old Nov 15, 2022, 11:37 am
  #385  
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Originally Posted by HofstraJet
I have two tickets on separate PNRs xxx-CLT / CLT-yyy. All flights are domestic in continental US. They may either both be AAdvantage awards or one award/one paid.

Will AA through check my bags or do I have to collect and recheck in CLT? I’m EXP if that matters.

If the tickets need to be in the same PNR, can AA merge the two tickets?

Thanks!
Originally Posted by JJeffrey
No, AA will not check bags through across separate PNR's, and no, you can't merge the 2 PNR's. So allow enough time in CLT to claim your bags and check in again.

For future reference, the OP could always purchase two separate award tickets in the same PNR on the phone with AA but it might be a HUACA case where a knowledgable agent must know how to do "Segment Select" and price both awards separately on Sabre. In that case the OP would be able to through check baggage.
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Old Nov 15, 2022, 9:24 pm
  #386  
 
Join Date: Nov 2022
Posts: 1
AA marketed, BA/IB operated flights

I have a flight to London coming up and I want to figure out if I have free baggage allowance or not.

I have Alaska MVP (one world Ruby) which with AA gives me 1 free checked bag. My eticket says NO CHARGE for 1st bag.

However, while my ticket is issued and purchased from AA, neither segments are AA operated. It is basic economy (B class on BA and Q on IB)

My outgoing itinerary is JFK-LHR, AA 6929 (BA116)
And return is LHR-MAD-JFK, AA 8555 and AA 8837 (IB3169 and IB6253).

I called AA and they are convinced I have bags but when I call BA they say no bags. AA even left a note on my ticket saying I have Ruby status so I should have 1 free bag. BA said that because I have basic fare, I don't and for BA only sapphire+ has free baggage anyway.

Does the DOT regulation about marketing airline baggage allowances apply? Is there anything I can say to BA or IB to convince them I should get baggage?
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Old Nov 28, 2022, 10:49 pm
  #387  
 
Join Date: Nov 2022
Posts: 4
My flight is PHX-LAX-NAN(Fiji). I booked via AA website so its 100% AA flights even though codeshare w Fiji Airways for LAX-NAN with baggage passed through at LAX .

I was offered a first class upgrade via the app for my PHX-LAX segment and went for it seeing the bit about "complimentary bags" which I jumped on as I was planning on paying for a second bag anyway. As the bag are passed through at LAX, this gets me two birds w one stone - the second bag for cheaper than $100 and supposedly up to 70lbs.

The AA baggage page on "oversize and overweight baggage" says,

"Business and Domestic First confirmed customers can check 2 bags up to 70 lbs / 32 kgs at no extra cost."

I've called up and no one has any idea except for the default - when in doubt say no.

I can't even check my ticket for fare rules because they only sent me an email with the new charge but no actual comprehensive ticket.

I also cannot pay for baggage via the app as it appears lots of people are having problems checking in.

So, should I resign myself to paying again for that second bag?

Thanks guys
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Old Nov 29, 2022, 4:56 am
  #388  
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Originally Posted by veamos
My flight is PHX-LAX-NAN(Fiji). I booked via AA website so its 100% AA flights even though codeshare w Fiji Airways for LAX-NAN with baggage passed through at LAX .

I was offered a first class upgrade via the app for my PHX-LAX segment and went for it seeing the bit about "complimentary bags" which I jumped on as I was planning on paying for a second bag anyway. As the bag are passed through at LAX, this gets me two birds w one stone - the second bag for cheaper than $100 and supposedly up to 70lbs.

The AA baggage page on "oversize and overweight baggage" says,

"Business and Domestic First confirmed customers can check 2 bags up to 70 lbs / 32 kgs at no extra cost."

I've called up and no one has any idea except for the default - when in doubt say no.

I can't even check my ticket for fare rules because they only sent me an email with the new charge but no actual comprehensive ticket.

I also cannot pay for baggage via the app as it appears lots of people are having problems checking in.

So, should I resign myself to paying again for that second bag?

Thanks guys
I'm not following at all, or am missing the question. You upgraded the PHL-LAX segment, so why would you need to resign yourself to paying for the 2nd bag? If you're now in first class on PHL-LAX then you'll get the 2 complimentary checked bags.
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Old Nov 29, 2022, 8:55 am
  #389  
 
Join Date: Nov 2022
Posts: 4
Originally Posted by JJeffrey
I'm not following at all, or am missing the question. You upgraded the PHL-LAX segment, so why would you need to resign yourself to paying for the 2nd bag? If you're now in first class on PHL-LAX then you'll get the 2 complimentary checked bags.
Sorry yes this is the question. The rules and website all say this is correct re 2 x 70lb bags but I can already foresee a an overworked, underpaid ticketing agent say "nope!" just like the people on the phone. Assuming the computer gets it right and it just says "Yes you can take 2 x 70lb bags"

As far as being resigned to paying for the second bag, all my reading on flyertalk forums seems to say, "Oh yeah they'll make you pay bro"
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Old Nov 29, 2022, 9:36 am
  #390  
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Originally Posted by veamos
Sorry yes this is the question. The rules and website all say this is correct re 2 x 70lb bags but I can already foresee a an overworked, underpaid ticketing agent say "nope!" just like the people on the phone. Assuming the computer gets it right and it just says "Yes you can take 2 x 70lb bags"

As far as being resigned to paying for the second bag, all my reading on flyertalk forums seems to say, "Oh yeah they'll make you pay bro"
Well there really isn't anything up for debate here, or anything that could be interpreted different ways by the check-in agents. You are in first class on PHX-LAX so you get 2 bags complimentary, no if's and's or but's about it.

And your standard reservations agent at AA isn't going to have a clue about baggage rules, so just completely disregard whatever they told you.
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