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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 Aug 19, 2023, 12:00 pm
  #496  
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Originally Posted by Global321
Use multicity on AA. It will give you the total miles needed and it will all be under one PNR. You can purchase without calling. I do this when I fly USA to Asia, but cannot find a routing over the Pacific. It is more miles (70k vs 110k), but, sometimes it still beats a very expensive paid ticket.
The only possible benefit to calling is that an agent might be able to reprice the itinerary as a single award. While that seems unlikely given what has been reported so far by the traveler, stranger things have happened.
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Old Aug 21, 2023, 3:47 am
  #497  
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Originally Posted by guv1976
You can try putting both awards on hold using the multi-city award-booking engine, and then call AA and ask if they can put the two separate award tickets on a single PNR.
No luck, unfortunately. Multiple said it wasn't possible to combine them into one PNR, neither by cancelling one and bringing into an existing PNR, nor by cancelling both and taking them into a whole new PNR.

Originally Posted by Global321
Use multicity on AA. It will give you the total miles needed and it will all be under one PNR. You can purchase without calling. I do this when I fly USA to Asia, but cannot find a routing over the Pacific. It is more miles (70k vs 110k), but, sometimes it still beats a very expensive paid ticket.
When I originally searched this way (i.e. US-SYD then Aus-Aus), the cost in miles was significantly more and that's why I booked them separately. With both of them on hold, I tried a new search and got a price only slightly more expensive but (a) a less appealing routing and (b) a local transit in SYD. In the end, I've paid for both of the separate tickets but have an 85 minute connection in SYD which may prove a challenge. It's still several months away so a lot can happen.
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Old Aug 21, 2023, 3:55 pm
  #498  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: MEL
Programs: QF Bronze, UA GM
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Originally Posted by danger
I have found award availability from the US to Sydney on AA. If I try to add a domestic QF flight, there's no availability, even though if search the QF flight separately, there is ample space.

An AA phone agent assured me three times that although bags won't be checked through if I book the domestic sector separately, AA will protect me if I misconnect in Sydney to that QF domestic flight. When I asked if that meant accommodating me on a later QF flight without any penalty, she said yes.

Does this sound correct? I would have thought AA would only look after me if the flights are on the one ticket.
Originally Posted by danger
...In the end, I've paid for both of the separate tickets but have an 85 minute connection in SYD which may prove a challenge. It's still several months away so a lot can happen.
Just FYI: 85 minutes is below the MCT I : D at SYD (which is 90 minutes).

I wouldn't worry too much from a baggage perspective - when you arrive in Sydney, you'll have to collect baggage and check it again (using the Qantas transfer desk in SYD international terminal). And Qantas gate agents at the transfer desk have a lot of flexibility to rebook onto later flights - whether they will if you miss the flight on an unprotected connection is a different matter.

Also, be prepared to stump up the $A8 or so to take the train between international and domestic as the connection is tight - it takes two minutes and is much quicker than the (free) bus. (EDIT - actually, Qantas' seamless transfer may be the better option. It's an airside bus.)
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Last edited by MELso; Aug 21, 2023 at 5:06 pm
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Old Aug 21, 2023, 7:17 pm
  #499  
 
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FYI I booked a one way award ticket US to Europe in Main Cabin (Atlanta to Lisbon) and the email confirmation said first checked bag $100, second checked bag $200. Called and agent confirmed first checked bag is free. So the email content was wrong.

(If it was basic economy first checked bag would have been $75).
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Old Aug 24, 2023, 8:20 pm
  #500  
 
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I am EXP and flying DFW-LAX-LHR and have a 10 hour layover at LAX for meetings. Would I be able to check an additional bag at LAX?
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Old Aug 24, 2023, 9:02 pm
  #501  
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Originally Posted by aglp2k
I am EXP and flying DFW-LAX-LHR and have a 10 hour layover at LAX for meetings. Would I be able to check an additional bag at LAX?
Yes
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Old Aug 29, 2023, 1:16 pm
  #502  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
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Programs: AA Gold/OneWorld Ruby
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Baggage allowance on AA marketed JL operated transpac

I recently purchased an economy class seat on AA.com for CGK-NRT-SFO, for AA 8497 and AA 8409, both of which are operated by Japan Airlines. I am AA Gold, and thus OneWorld Ruby. I am trying to determine what my free checked bagagge allowance is.

If I had bought this ticket through JAL directly, there would be no question, as their allowance for international flights is 2 free checked bags (<50 lbs each). But it would appear that the baggage allowance of the marketing carrier, not the operating carrier, holds, and for American Airlines correctly, that means only 1 piece, even for a transpacific flight.

Is this really true? In practice, if I show up in Jakarta with two bags to check, will I really be charged $100?

Last edited by lipoff; Aug 29, 2023 at 1:24 pm Reason: Added fare class information.
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Old Aug 29, 2023, 1:45 pm
  #503  
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What does it say on your tiicket receipt? it will specify what the cost for the 1st amd 2nd piece to be checked in. This is the definitive information
Looking at AA's allowances, the 1st bag should be free and the 2nd bag $100

If you turn up with the extra bag where the allowance is 1 bag, then you can expect to be charged $100
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Old Aug 29, 2023, 1:50 pm
  #504  
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Originally Posted by lipoff
If I had bought this ticket through JAL directly, there would be no question, as their allowance for international flights is 2 free checked bags (<50 lbs each). But it would appear that the baggage allowance of the marketing carrier, not the operating carrier, holds
How did you reach that conclusion? The AA website says just the opposite:

"Free checked bags may not apply to codeshare flights operated by our partners. Visit the website of the airline operating your flight for details."
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Old Aug 29, 2023, 2:03 pm
  #505  
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That statement is in the section to do with complimentary bags for status; the whole paragraph is

Originally Posted by AA
In some cases, you won't have to pay the fees for up to 3 bags when traveling on itineraries marketed and operated by American Airlines. If you qualify for complimentary bags based on your AAdvantage® or oneworld® status, the benefits are based on your highest status level at time of ticketing or check-in.
If your status level is:

Higher at ticketing than at check-in, show your ticket receipt to the airport agent
Lower at ticketing than at check-in, current benefits will automatically apply

Free checked bags may not apply to codeshare flights operated by our partners. Visit the website of the airline operating your flight for details.
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Old Aug 29, 2023, 2:18 pm
  #506  
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
That statement is in the section to do with complimentary bags for status; the whole paragraph is
Wrong. Although the section discusses free checked bags based on status, it also discusses free checked bags based on destination:

"1st checked bag is complimentary for:

"Eligible AAdvantage® Aviator® and Citi® / AAdvantage® cardmembers (on domestic American Airlines operated itineraries)
AAdvantage Gold®
oneworld® Ruby
And when traveling to these destinations:
Argentina*
Australia^
Brazil*
Chile*
China^
Colombia*
Ecuador*
El Salvador*
Haiti*
Hong Kong^
India^
Israel^
Japan^
New Zealand^
Panama*
Paraguay*
Peru*
Qatar
South Korea^
Transatlantic*
Uruguay*"

Edited to add: AA does not indicate any free checked baggage for travel to or from Indonesia, probably because AA does not serve Indonesia on its own metal. That is additional support for the notion that it is the baggage policy of the operating carrier which will govern the OP's trip from CGK.

Originally Posted by Dave Noble
What does it say on your tiicket receipt? it will specify what the cost for the 1st amd 2nd piece to be checked in. This is the definitive information
Looking at AA's allowances, the 1st bag should be free and the 2nd bag $100

If you turn up with the extra bag where the allowance is 1 bag, then you can expect to be charged $100
Does the OP's ticket receipt specify a baggage allowance (yes, it's supposed to), or does it refer the passenger to the operating carrier's website? There have been numerous reports here on FT of AA ticket receipts failing to specify the baggage allowance for flights operated by other carriers, even though this is in apparent violation of US DOT regulations.

But I agree that if the ticket receipt specifies a baggage allowance, then that should be dispositive.

From the AA webpage on codeshare travel:

"Tips for traveling on codeshare flights

"Check in with the airline operating your first flight

"Baggage policies differ between airlines and other charges may apply; check with the airline operating your flight for baggage information

"You can book and change codeshare flights on aa.com"

(Emphasis added.)

Source:

https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/.../codeshare.jsp

Last edited by Microwave; Sep 6, 2023 at 2:35 am Reason: Merged consecutive posts for readability
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Old Aug 29, 2023, 2:46 pm
  #507  
 
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The ticket receipt from AA specifies a baggage allowance of one free checked bag with the second bag costing $100.

The JAL website suggests that the marketing carrier's regulations take precedence over the operating carrier's:
https://www.jal.co.jp/jp/en/info/202...info_iata.html

Both of these suggest that I only have one free checked bag. ☹ Although I wonder if in practice the JAL counter in Jakarta would actually allow a second bag or if the computer system would recognize the AA regulation.

I am still a bit stupefied that (a) passengers on a transpac only get one free checked bag (every airline I've ever flown has provided two) and (b) that an AA Gold member gets the same checked baggage allownace as a non-elite even on a 001 ticketed transpac, because the AA Gold (and AA credit card) benefit is first checked bag free, not one additional checked bag free.
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Old Aug 29, 2023, 2:56 pm
  #508  
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Originally Posted by lipoff
I am still a bit stupefied that (a) passengers on a transpac only get one free checked bag (every airline I've ever flown has provided two) and (b) that an AA Gold member gets the same checked baggage allownace as a non-elite even on a 001 ticketed transpac, because the AA Gold (and AA credit card) benefit is first checked bag free, not one additional checked bag free.
The AAdvantage Gold one-free-checked-bag benefit only applies to AA-operated flights. A oneworld Ruby member is not, by virtue of that status, entitled to any special baggage allowance on other carriers, unless the other carrier (like AS) chooses to grant a benefit. And even on AA flights, the AAdvantage Gold benefit is not additive: if you're flying a route that includes one free bag anyway, your AAdvantage Gold status does not get you a second checked bag.

Originally Posted by lipoff
The ticket receipt from AA specifies a baggage allowance of one free checked bag with the second bag costing $100.

The JAL website suggests that the marketing carrier's regulations take precedence over the operating carrier's:
https://www.jal.co.jp/jp/en/info/202...info_iata.html
That does complicate things. If AA refers you to the baggage rules of the operating carrier, and if JL's rule for travel to/from the U.S. is to apply the baggage allowance of the marketing carrier, then you may indeed be stuck.
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Last edited by Microwave; Sep 6, 2023 at 2:35 am Reason: Merged consecutive posts for readability
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Old Aug 29, 2023, 3:01 pm
  #509  
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The baggage allowance of the marketing carrier applies. The allowance of 1 piece is correct for the AA codeshare

The JAL site's description of the DOT rules is quite correct . Where multiple marketing carriers exist, the 1st marketing carrier chooses whether to apply its own allowances or those of the most signifivant carrier

In this case, AA is the 1st and most significant carrier - being on the AA codeshare, AA os the marketing carrier

If you were on an AA flight domestically and then connecting on to a JL flight internationally on the JL flight number, AA defers to the most significant carrier and JL's rules would apply

Originally Posted by guv1976
That does complicate things. If AA refers you to the baggage rules of the operating carrier, and if JL's rule for travel to/from the U.S. is to apply the baggage allowance of the marketing carrier, then you may indeed be stuck.
JL;s rule applies when JL is the 1st marketing carrier - in this case AA is the marketing carrier for 1st flight and is the most significant carrier, since both flights are marketed by AA
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Old Aug 29, 2023, 5:11 pm
  #510  
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Originally Posted by lipoff
The ticket receipt from AA specifies a baggage allowance of one free checked bag with the second bag costing $100.
Then that's your allowance.

The JAL website suggests that the marketing carrier's regulations take precedence over the operating carrier's:
https://www.jal.co.jp/jp/en/info/202...info_iata.html
Policy is only relevant here in that it should determine what the ticket ends up showing. The ticket is a binding contract; it's correct by definition.

Both of these suggest that I only have one free checked bag. ☹ Although I wonder if in practice the JAL counter in Jakarta would actually allow a second bag or if the computer system would recognize the AA regulation.
The computer will read the baggage allowance from the ticket and charge you accordingly. The JL computers and employees don't need to be familiar with the rules and regulations of all their codeshare partners.

I am still a bit stupefied that (a) passengers on a transpac only get one free checked bag (every airline I've ever flown has provided two) and (b) that an AA Gold member gets the same checked baggage allownace as a non-elite even on a 001 ticketed transpac, because the AA Gold (and AA credit card) benefit is first checked bag free, not one additional checked bag free.
I have no idea what's standard. I've only ever flown with more than 1 checked bag when I was moving (and I always check a bag). This is why the baggage allowance is on the ticket and you get 24 hr to cancel if you don't like it.
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