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

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

Can I check it through?

Im on award travel...

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q. Can I check my baggage through?

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

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

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

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

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

See Australian Business Traveller article. (Link)

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

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

Q. Which carrier's rules apply?

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

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

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

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

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

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


IATA divides Areas and sub-areas. For example:

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

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


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

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

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

See here on aa.com for updates

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<redacted issuing personnel>

Reference . . .APS13002


Q. How many bags can I check?

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


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


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


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

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

Q. What are my Overweight Baggage Charges?

A. aa.com: Oversize and overweight baggage

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

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

Additionally:

Link to checked baggage policy

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


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

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

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

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

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


Helpful resource links:

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

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

See No More Multi-Reservation Through-Checking across oneworld

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

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

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


Link to archived thread with older posts.

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

Old Jun 10, 2019, 2:41 pm
  #76  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Programs: Aeroplan
Posts: 86
Will my luggage be checked through on such a long layover?

We are flying NRT to ORD to YYZ with an approx 20HR layover in ORD. Does anyone know if our luggage will be checked through or we have to collect it? Also I'm assuming we would be allowed to leave the airport? We plan on getting a hotel.
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Old Jun 10, 2019, 3:00 pm
  #77  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: KSUX
Posts: 906
I'm not sure about the luggage but as long as both flights are on the same PNR you should be able to have them checked through. You will have to collect your bag at ORD to clear CBP but there is a recheck desk outside the CBP hall.

As long as you're cleared by CBP to enter the US leaving the airport won't be a problem. There's the Hilton right at ORD and several other hotels close by in Rosemont. You can either take the Blue line or one of the various hotel shuttles from the airport.
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Old Jun 10, 2019, 3:06 pm
  #78  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Not here; there!
Programs: AA Lifetime Gold
Posts: 29,858
Current AA policy is not to through-check bags on overnight connections exceeding 12 hours.
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Old Jun 10, 2019, 3:24 pm
  #79  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: San Francisco, CA
Programs: Jose Cuervo Gold, Bud Light Platinum, Schwab 401K, VW Bug 2MM
Posts: 1,108
As a previously reply stated, you'll have to collect your bags no matter what. You cant check in your bags 20 hours in advance, so you'll have to take them with you.
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Old Jun 10, 2019, 9:29 pm
  #80  
Moderator: American AAdvantage
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: NorCal - SMF area
Programs: AA LT Plat; HH LT Diamond, Matre-plongeur des Muccis
Posts: 62,946
We will be merging this into the existing thread, but in the meantime, guv1976 is spot on. If you’re considering going into town, try checking the bags with the Hilton’s bell personnel on your way to the CTA “L”. Several members have apparently been successful doing this (with a tip, of course).
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Old Jun 23, 2019, 2:35 am
  #81  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: HAM
Programs: BA Gold, A3*G, LH FTL, IHG Diamond
Posts: 311
Hallo,
maybe someone has some insights on cartons / boxes as checked luggage with AA:

I will be flying MIA - ATL in Domestic First with a connection to BA (in First, on one ticket) and I was thinking of checking a carton box with size of 45 x 8 x 8 in.
Now I read that on AA’s website about a total allowed dimension of 62 inch.
How strict is the enforcement of these dimensions especially if boxes (and not a „normal“ suitcase) are involved?
The weight of the box will not be an issue as it much lesser than the maximum allowed.

Status is Emerald, so I could go to Flagship Check-in at MIA, maybe they are a bit more „approachable“ there?

Does anyone have (recent) experiences on this?

Thanks,
SirToby
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Old Jun 23, 2019, 6:13 am
  #82  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Global
Posts: 6,025
Originally Posted by SirToby
Hallo,
maybe someone has some insights on cartons / boxes as checked luggage with AA:

I will be flying MIA - ATL in Domestic First with a connection to BA (in First, on one ticket) and I was thinking of checking a carton box with size of 45 x 8 x 8 in.
Now I read that on AA’s website about a total allowed dimension of 62 inch.
How strict is the enforcement of these dimensions especially if boxes (and not a „normal“ suitcase) are involved?
The weight of the box will not be an issue as it much lesser than the maximum allowed.

Status is Emerald, so I could go to Flagship Check-in at MIA, maybe they are a bit more „approachable“ there?

Does anyone have (recent) experiences on this?

Thanks,
SirToby
Your bag is 8+8+45 which is 61 inches, so it within the dimensions. You should be fine there.
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Last edited by Global321; Jun 23, 2019 at 9:06 am Reason: removed incorrect statement
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Old Jun 23, 2019, 8:52 am
  #83  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: MSN
Programs: AA, BAEC Gold
Posts: 3,937
Originally Posted by Global321
(FWIW - You are not eligible for Flagship First Check-In. BA First does not qualify.)
But BA Gold = OW Emerald does.
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Old Jun 23, 2019, 9:05 am
  #84  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Global
Posts: 6,025
Originally Posted by MADPhil
But BA Gold = OW Emerald does.
Missed that.

For OW Emerald... You can use Flagship First Check-In if youre flying on any flight operated by American (regardless of cabin).

Wow - missed the 'any' AA = any, including domestic.

I will correct my previous post.
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Old Jun 23, 2019, 9:14 am
  #85  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: MSN
Programs: AA, BAEC Gold
Posts: 3,937
Originally Posted by Global321
Missed that.

For OW Emerald... You can use Flagship First Check-In if youre flying on any flight operated by American (regardless of cabin).

Wow - missed the 'any' AA = any, including domestic.

I will correct my previous post.
It's a nice little perk but the door guards sometimes have to be educated. They are probably more up to speed since it has now been around for a while but AA gives them a list of who is entitled to use it and they don't always know what to do with people who aren't on it
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Old Jun 23, 2019, 12:21 pm
  #86  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: HAM
Programs: BA Gold, A3*G, LH FTL, IHG Diamond
Posts: 311
Originally Posted by Global321
Your bag is 8+8+45 which is 61 inches, so it within the dimensions. You should be fine there.
Oops, yes indeed, that should fit.
Sigh, this happens when one does too many back and forth conversions from inches to metric and vice versa, some calculations get mixed up...

Will boxes be accepted at normal check in or is there any oversized counter at MIA?

Yes, I heard about "other" Emeralds being sometimes not let into FL CI, maybe I should have their website on my phone at hand
I only know the one in JFK so far, where I luckily never had a discussion.
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Old Jun 26, 2019, 5:35 am
  #87  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 36
BA Gold (ow emerald) member extra baggage on AA domestic

I have seen FAQ but still unclear about number of extra baggage by flying AA domestic basic economy class. 1 or 2? Many thanks!
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Old Jun 26, 2019, 7:58 am
  #88  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: MSN
Programs: AA, BAEC Gold
Posts: 3,937
Originally Posted by nocom
I have seen FAQ but still unclear about number of extra baggage by flying AA domestic basic economy class. 1 or 2? Many thanks!
I have no personal experience but AA.com says that your normal elite allowance is available: https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/...ic-economy.jsp and that is documented here: https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/...age-policy.jsp. The answer would appear to be 3 bags weighing up to 70lb each.
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Old Jul 10, 2019, 9:53 am
  #89  
mlm
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 410
Gold Member traveling with 5 others: baggage allowance?

My spouse has lifetime Gold status with AA. We both have always been able to each check a bag for free. Our next flight will be for with our family, 6 people total (not all the same last names) to the Caribbean. If we're all on the same confirmation will we be able to each check 1 bag even if we're all in Coach ?
Adding...my spouse is the one with Lifetime Gold but we're planning to use Advantage Miles only out of my account.
Thank you.

Last edited by mlm; Jul 10, 2019 at 10:05 am
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Old Jul 10, 2019, 10:38 am
  #90  
 
Join Date: May 2017
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Posts: 38
Assuming you are all on the same reservation, the checked bag benefit will extend to each passenger on the reservation for one free bag per person.
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