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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 Aug 21, 2019, 7:56 pm
  #106  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 46
Originally Posted by Dave Noble
Is this booked as a single ticket for SCU-BOS or as 2 tickets SCU-MIA and MIA-BOS

If the former, then the Cuba-US allowance applies all the way to Boston ; if the latter, there will be no allowance for MIA-BOS

The website does not show 3 bags as being Free. Cuba allowance is

Round-trip from Cuba

Round-trips originating in Cuba to the U.S. or Canada:
Standard-sized 1st and 2nd bags are free when departing Cuba
Standard-sized 1st bag is free and 2nd bag fee applies when returning back to Cuba

One-way from Cuba
Standard-sized 1st and 2nd bags are free when departing Cuba

Also the cost per bag ( with 3 bags ) if you are on separate tickets, would not be $30 per bag , but $30 for 1st, $40 for 2nd and $150 for 3rd
I have not booked yet, but will be booking directly from AA by searching for an SCU-BOS flight (which results in a route with a stopover in MIA). I suppose that means a single ticket booking?

Thanks for the correction about the 3 bag allowance, I misread (I will only be checking one bag).
Tami is offline  
Old Aug 21, 2019, 8:00 pm
  #107  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: MSN
Programs: AA, BAEC Gold
Posts: 3,937
Originally Posted by Tami
I have not booked yet, but will be booking directly from AA by searching for an SCU-BOS flight (which results in a route with a stopover in MIA). I suppose that means a single ticket booking?
It will be one booking on one record if booked like that, which is what matters. It could result in two tickets but that is unlikely in this case.
MADPhil is offline  
Old Aug 21, 2019, 8:03 pm
  #108  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 46
Originally Posted by MADPhil
It will be one booking on one record if booked like that, which is what matters. It could result in two tickets but that is unlikely in this case.
Thanks! Much appreciated.
Tami is offline  
Old Aug 25, 2019, 2:08 am
  #109  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: UK
Programs: BA Gold
Posts: 713
Web Special Award - Main Cabin

Grateful for any advice - I am considering a AA miles reward domestic for the family and a web special award in the Main Cabin is on offer. I have no AA status but OWE (BA Gold) - would these reward flights include luggage usually and, if not, would AA honour my BA OWE allowance even though it would be a reward from my non status AA account? Thanks in advance ^
DocS is offline  
Old Aug 25, 2019, 11:14 pm
  #110  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Global
Posts: 6,025
Originally Posted by DocS
Grateful for any advice - I am considering a AA miles reward domestic for the family and a web special award in the Main Cabin is on offer. I have no AA status but OWE (BA Gold) - would these reward flights include luggage usually and, if not, would AA honour my BA OWE allowance even though it would be a reward from my non status AA account? Thanks in advance ^
Answering the second part first, yes you can use your BA OWE status. Buy the ticket for your friend (you) and put in your BA ff details.

AFAIK there are no special baggage restrictions on web special award tickets.
Global321 is offline  
Old Aug 26, 2019, 5:13 am
  #111  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Programs: BA Gold, AAdvantage, Marriot & SPG Platinum, Hilton, AClub gold, ICH
Posts: 192
Help appreciated please, tried ringing UK call centre but it’s a bank holiday - 5 passengers flying economy back from USA to UK, one is OneWorld sapphire- they will have five suitcases and a set of club clubs, will there be an extra changes please? (Going out four cases and golf clubs no charge). Many thanks
Pandra is offline  
Old Aug 31, 2019, 11:39 am
  #112  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Programs: SPG Gold, AA PM
Posts: 287
Baggage allowance and seat selection on AA award with Avios?

Does anyone know whether one gets checked baggage allowance and/or seat selection on AA flights to the Caribbean booked with Avios? Grateful for any insight.
snaporaz is offline  
Old Aug 31, 2019, 11:45 am
  #113  
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: LAX
Posts: 10,921
Same as regular ticket in same class and travellers status. Economy award is not treated as basic economy for now but i believe delta is already trailblazing the concept...
azepine00 is offline  
Old Aug 31, 2019, 12:23 pm
  #114  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Programs: SPG Gold, AA PM
Posts: 287
Originally Posted by azepine00
Same as regular ticket in same class and travellers status. Economy award is not treated as basic economy for now but i believe delta is already trailblazing the concept...
Thanks! Exactly what I was wondering. So presumably with no status and no CCs we can select seats in the back of the plane but still need to pay for checked bags.
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Old Aug 31, 2019, 4:59 pm
  #115  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: DAY
Programs: Rapid Rewards, Skymiles, Hilton HHonors, SPG/Marriott Rewards
Posts: 5,000
Originally Posted by snaporaz


Thanks! Exactly what I was wondering. So presumably with no status and no CCs we can select seats in the back of the plane but still need to pay for checked bags.
Yes. I have an AA flight LAX-OGG booked with Avios and have selected seats, but no free luggage.
Cledaybuck is offline  
Old Sep 1, 2019, 8:43 am
  #116  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Western Mass
Programs: Delta, American, Flying Blue, Korean Air
Posts: 52
Does anyone know if AA will offer a cash upgrade to Premium Economy for economy tix booked with Avios?

If so, how and when does that happen? Can I call AA after I book via BA? Do it on the day of travel?
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Old Nov 18, 2019, 6:41 am
  #117  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: AVL
Programs: Hhonors Diamond, Bonvoy LT Plat, TSA vilifier extraordinaire, Once upon a time... US Silver, AA Gold
Posts: 1,318
I did a quick search but did not see my specific question. It's probably there but I didn't enter the right search terms. Sorry if this is a repeat.

Mrs. dwcatty and I are flying to STT and need to check three bags. We have no status but we do (both) have the credit card, and flight was booked with the card. We get to each check 1 bag free with the card. What will we pay for the third bag? $30 or $40? Is the extra bag considered a second or a first (since one is free)?

Also, one "bag" will be a box, not a suitcase. It will meet the weight and size restrictions. A little outside the norm, but I am assuming not an issue.

TIA.
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Old Nov 18, 2019, 8:23 am
  #118  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: MSN
Programs: AA, BAEC Gold
Posts: 3,937
Originally Posted by dwcatty
I did a quick search but did not see my specific question. It's probably there but I didn't enter the right search terms. Sorry if this is a repeat.

Mrs. dwcatty and I are flying to STT and need to check three bags. We have no status but we do (both) have the credit card, and flight was booked with the card. We get to each check 1 bag free with the card. What will we pay for the third bag? $30 or $40? Is the extra bag considered a second or a first (since one is free)?

Also, one "bag" will be a box, not a suitcase. It will meet the weight and size restrictions. A little outside the norm, but I am assuming not an issue.

TIA.
The free bag is the first so if you have three bags then the third attracts the fee for a third bag. You should check AA.com as there are seasonal restrictions on checking boxes to/from the Caribbean.
MADPhil is offline  
Old Nov 18, 2019, 8:32 am
  #119  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: AVL
Programs: Hhonors Diamond, Bonvoy LT Plat, TSA vilifier extraordinaire, Once upon a time... US Silver, AA Gold
Posts: 1,318
I did check seasonal restrictions and we are outside of that, but thanks for the heads up.

The paid bag will technically be a second bag as we each get to check one for free, and have three total to check between the two of us. Yeah, I know it's only a $10 difference, but I'm trying to figure if, because it is the first paid bag, we get charged $30, or if because it is the second bag (the first being free) we get charged $40 as a second bag.
dwcatty is offline  
Old Nov 18, 2019, 8:50 am
  #120  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: MSN
Programs: AA, BAEC Gold
Posts: 3,937
Originally Posted by dwcatty
I did check seasonal restrictions and we are outside of that, but thanks for the heads up.

The paid bag will technically be a second bag as we each get to check one for free, and have three total to check between the two of us. Yeah, I know it's only a $10 difference, but I'm trying to figure if, because it is the first paid bag, we get charged $30, or if because it is the second bag (the first being free) we get charged $40 as a second bag.
Since there are two of you, one of you has a second bag. The "free" bag is counted.
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