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Separate ticketing / PNR: AA, oneworld, through baggage & protection issues > 2016

Old Jun 18, 2016, 2:27 pm
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Last edit by: Prospero
oneworld announces alliance airlines no longer required to honor missed connections or interline baggage for those on separate PNRs

NOTE: See AA Protection on separate oneworld tickets / PNR

AA policy: “Through Checked Baggage Policy – Separate Tickets“ - see PDF available attached to post #1.

Background:
Originally Posted by OAG

According to OAG’s most recent report, “Self-Connection: The Rise and Roadblocks of a Growing Travel Booking Strategy,” 40 percent of U.S. travellers are bypassing typical booking practices, such as through an airline, travel agency or OTA, and are beginning to self-connect when they travel.

Self-connecting passengers are defined as those that book separate tickets to fly from City A to City C, via City B.

Already popular in Europe, self-connecting is beginning to increase in popularity in the U.S. market as passengers look to save money. Passengers can mix and match airlines in order to score the best deal or connect through a city they would like to visit on the way to their final destination. But what are some of the roadblocks and challenges to successfully self-connect, and how can airlines or airports make this process easier?
oneworld airlines are not required to provide connecting passenger protection of through checked baggage to passengers on separate PNRs; individual airlines may still choose to do so, but it is not required. AA, BA, QF (9/2016) have modified their policies regarding connection protection and baggage through checking of passengers flying on separate PNRs. Read on. (Yes, it means on separate PNRs AA won't even through check on AA to AA - link to ODF.))

Qatar Airways / QR has verified as of 1 March 2017 they will interline baggage on separate PNRs. They must be the first airline (not one honoring the original oneworld policy) one checks in with, and the connection must meet MCT (usually two hours). See more in post quoted below, and link to Australian Business Traveller article. (26 Feb 2017)

MH / Malaysia Airlines STILL HONOR connection protection and through checking / interlining on separate PNRs.

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon reversed their policy and through check baggage on separate PNRs as of 1 Jan 2017. See post #1.

JL / Japan Airlines began through checking to oneworld partners again in Oct 2016.

Qatar Airways will through check baggage to oneworld partners if it’s the trip origin airline.

See Wikipost for this thread in oneworld forum for the list of oneworld airlines and known through checking policies.

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

As well, “if you book an award ticket and a paid ticket at the same time, there are mixed reports here of well trained agents being able to combine these into a single PNR at the time of booking, which enables bags to be through checked. But this takes a good agent, probably several HUCAs, and can only be done at the time of booking. “ - JJeffrey

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

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 on separate PNRs (or to non-oneworld carriers) 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 Alaska 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 AS 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 AS.
When issuing separate tickets it is important your customer be informed that American is unable to ‘through-check' bags with 2 separate tickets (PNRs) if they are traveling on American and non-oneworld carriers. This will result in an airport check-in representative collecting the required baggage fees based on each airline's established policies.

Please advise the customer to allow additional time to claim their baggage, present the required travel documents to enter the country, if relevant, and meet check-in requirements for the connecting flight. The Minimum Connecting Time (MCT) will usually not be sufficient when the customer has separate tickets issued for each airline.

Link

(One PNR can be comprised of several tickets - up to 16, if memory serves.)

Australian Business Traveller (in part): “Despite the two airlines' (AA and QF) joint venture across the Pacific, check-in staff are no longer obliged to tag your baggage through to your final destination from September 1 2016 if your flights are booked separately (separate ONRs) rather than under the one reservation.”

Instead, those bags will only be tagged as far as the destination shown on each individual booking – not where you’re actually headed at the end of the trip. Both Qantas and American Airlines have confirmed the new arrangements to Australian Business Traveller.
Those also announcing they will NOT HONOR connection protection and through checking / interlining on separate PNRs, even on oneworld airline partners. (AA still honors connection protection if your next flight is on AA.)

E.g. CX new policy in line with above:

"+ oneworld Ticketing and Disruption Policy 01 Jun 2016

Separate Ticket Policy - Revised Through Check in Handling

With effect from 01 Jun 2016, all oneworld carriers have agreed that through* check-in will apply ONLY to passengers travelling on an oneworld itinerary ticketed on a single ticket or where segments are ticketed separately but in the same PNR.

*=Through services are defined as the customer and their baggage being through checked to their final destinations.

To align with the change, disruption policy will also be revised to exclude protection for passengers holding separate tickets that is not booked under the same PNR."
NOTE: CX will still offer protection and baggage interlining between Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon.

Oneworld (sic) communications chief Michael Blunt tells Australian Business Traveller that “individual member airlines are free to offer service above and beyond the (Oneworld) alliance minimum standard if they so choose, so some may continue to offer through check-in for customers travelling on separate bookings.”

"All our member airlines will be delighted to continue to check them and their baggage through to any of the 1,000 plus destinations on the alliance network, on multiple sectors,” Blunt says, “provided the itinerary is all on one booking so we are aware of where they and their baggage want to end up and we can plan accordingly and ensure the best possible customer service delivery throughout the journey.”

M. Blunt, as quoted in Australian Business Traveller
Gary Leff, View from the Wing, 16 Aug 2016: reached out to American and learned this new policy goes into effect September 1 although I’m not sure how they can retroactively apply it to tickets purchased before the new policy was implemented.

There’s one small saving grace. 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. Link
"
  • If you’re booked on two separate PNRs on oneworld carriers, you’ve previously been able to check your bags through to your final destination
  • If you’re booked on two separate tickets on oneworld carriers, you’ve been protected in the event of a misconnect or cancelation


As of June 1, 2016, the oneworld alliance has eliminated these benefits for passengers booked on separate tickets. Oneworld carriers no longer have to check your bags through to other oneworld carriers if booked on a separate ticket, and no longer have to protect you in the event of a misconnect when on separate tickets."

Link to full article in Boarding Area
"In a move which could cause connection chaos for many travellers, airlines belonging to the Oneworld (sic) alliance ... are no longer required to check passengers and their baggage through to their final destination on some connecting flights.

"The new scheme, which came into effect from June 1st (2016), impacts passengers whose journey involves flights on more than one airline where their travel encompasses more than one booking, rather than all flights being listed under a single booking reference. "

But, good news for those flying Qatar Airways:

Originally Posted by JDiver
Important change! Qatar Airways has announced they will no longer adhere to oneworld's draconian baggage transfer policy when flights are booked on separate PNRs.

As long as MCT / minimum connection times are met, QR will interline baggage on separate oneworld PNRs as of 1 March 2017.

Australian Business Traveller found the change in the QR ground services manual issued 23 Feb 2017, verified by a QR spokesperson.

NOTE: If one is beginning travel with a one world airline adhering to the oneworld policy and continuing on Qatar, one flying on separate PNRs is still going to have to collect baggage and recheck with QR.

E.g. SFO-LAX on AA, LAX-DOH-CMB on QR, two PNRs - the first sector on AA, remainder on QR, AA will not respect QR ground handling rules so one will have to recover baggage at LAX and transfer it to the QR checkin counter.

(Added to Wikipost 26 Feb 2017)

Link to full article on Australian Business Traveller
Link to update of Aus BT article with airline announcements of their positions

On FT: oneworld no longer interlining between separate tickets / PNRs?

On FT: BA no longer interlining baggage with separate tickets

On FT: CX will not interline to other oneworld airlines if travelling on separate PNRs

On FT: JAL will continue to interline to other oneworld carriers on separate PNRs (4 Oct 2016)

On FT: Qantas - no checking of luggage separate itineraries from 1 Sep (2016) [some exceptions]

Archived previous thread: ARCHIVE: Change to through-checking Oct 2014 (interlining) baggage on separate tickets

Updated 26 Feb 2017 - JDiver
Print Wikipost

Separate ticketing / PNR: AA, oneworld, through baggage & protection issues > 2016

Old Jun 10, 2016, 3:59 pm
  #31  
 
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AA's policy regarding thru-checking bags on separate tickets has not changed.

oneworld is no longer requiring its member airlines to extend this courtesy, but it's business as usual at AA for now.
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Old Jun 10, 2016, 4:09 pm
  #32  
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Originally Posted by nk15
Ok, first how common this is? I would guess it is a pretty rare occurrence. I expect that AA will continue to voluntarily honor this, at least for their top elites. Are you telling me that because the check in agent doesn't want to spend an extra minute doing this, I will have to spend an extra 90 minutes and risk missing my flight? It will get very uncomfortable at the check-in counter, if they refuse to do this.
It is not the extra time tagging the bags, it is the liability that the airline takes when agreeing to check bags through. If the bags get lost/misrouted, the airline accepting the bags has liability

At this moment though, AA has not changed its policy, though given that BA has changed its policy would be surprised if AA does not

Last edited by Dave Noble; Jun 10, 2016 at 4:33 pm
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Old Jun 10, 2016, 4:35 pm
  #33  
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Originally Posted by ThreeJulietTango
AA's policy regarding thru-checking bags on separate tickets has not changed.

oneworld is no longer requiring its member airlines to extend this courtesy, but it's business as usual at AA for now.
My understanding as well.
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Old Jun 10, 2016, 4:36 pm
  #34  
 
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Originally Posted by ThreeJulietTango
AA's policy regarding thru-checking bags on separate tickets has not changed.

oneworld is no longer requiring its member airlines to extend this courtesy, but it's business as usual at AA for now.
"For now" doesn't give a lot of comfort for a flight months from now.
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Old Jun 10, 2016, 4:59 pm
  #35  
 
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Not just checked bags, but protection for misconnects during IRROPs is massive as well. Case in point: my wife and I found J class awards on AB from ORD to Europe over NYE. However, AA never released any award seats from our origin to ORD, so we bought a revenue ticket to ORD (separate ticket and PNR obvi). At our origin, the helpful agent has no problems and checks our bags through onto AB to our final destination, even prints our BPs for us. Takes her approximately 10 seconds extra. Lo and behold an ice storm hits ORD enroute, so we divert to IND where our flight is ultimately cancelled. Luckily we find the most patient agent ever at IND who's aware of the oneworld misconnect/protection policy, so we work with him (he's on the phone with his helpdesk, I'm stalking EF), and ultimately he rebooks us to go via PHL (on AA), then PHL-Europe on BA. Didn't even make us pay the BA extortion! Experiences like these are what has kept us loyal to AA/oneworld despite the gutting of everything else. So if AA/oneworld can no longer guarantee us these protections, we'll be happy to take our business elsewhere.
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Old Jun 10, 2016, 6:38 pm
  #36  
 
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The thread title is misleading - it suggests that the practice has been stopped/forbidden. In reality it is no longer required by oneworld. Leaving it up to individual airline policy. There's a difference.

I say meh to whole thing. I've never done this, and it's difficult for me to imagine a circumstance in my travel patterns where I would. YMMV.
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Old Jun 10, 2016, 6:43 pm
  #37  
 
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Originally Posted by bse118
The thread title is misleading - it suggests that the practice has been stopped/forbidden. In reality it is no longer required by oneworld. Leaving it up to individual airline policy. There's a difference.

I say meh to whole thing. I've never done this, and it's difficult for me to imagine a circumstance in my travel patterns where I would. YMMV.
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Old Jun 10, 2016, 6:47 pm
  #38  
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Originally Posted by no1cub17
Not just checked bags, but protection for misconnects during IRROPs is massive as well. Case in point: my wife and I found J class awards on AB from ORD to Europe over NYE. However, AA never released any award seats from our origin to ORD, so we bought a revenue ticket to ORD (separate ticket and PNR obvi). At our origin, the helpful agent has no problems and checks our bags through onto AB to our final destination, even prints our BPs for us. Takes her approximately 10 seconds extra. Lo and behold an ice storm hits ORD enroute, so we divert to IND where our flight is ultimately cancelled. Luckily we find the most patient agent ever at IND who's aware of the oneworld misconnect/protection policy, so we work with him (he's on the phone with his helpdesk, I'm stalking EF), and ultimately he rebooks us to go via PHL (on AA), then PHL-Europe on BA. Didn't even make us pay the BA extortion! Experiences like these are what has kept us loyal to AA/oneworld despite the gutting of everything else. So if AA/oneworld can no longer guarantee us these protections, we'll be happy to take our business elsewhere.
There's no reason to believe that's going anywhere.
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Old Jun 10, 2016, 6:52 pm
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Originally Posted by bse118
I say meh to whole thing. I've never done this, and it's difficult for me to imagine a circumstance in my travel patterns where I would. YMMV.
I'd say you have quite unusual travel patterns then, certainly for a user of this site.

Basically, anyone who uses miles and/or does multi-city trips and/or whose plans change, will often find themselves booking separate tickets to connect between flights.

If you're travelling HBO (as I usually do) it's not an issue but obviously many people do check luggage.

By the way, to clarify for earlier posters, BA's new policy is absolutely clear that BA will now not check through on separate tickets even from BA to BA!!

http://www.speedbirdclub.com/nl/reservations-ticketing/rulesregulations/separatetickets/
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Old Jun 10, 2016, 7:28 pm
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Originally Posted by JonNYC
There's no reason to believe that's going anywhere.
Good to hear.
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Old Jun 10, 2016, 7:39 pm
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I've used this before and really hope airlines continue to offer it even though it is not required by oneworld. For example, let's say I am doing a business trip to LHR (on AA, CX, JL) in J paid for by work. If I decide to spend the weekend in GVA and go skiing before heading back I would need to book a separate personal ticket on BA and the interlining of my ski gear from BA to AA/CX/JL would certainly be appreciated and the reason why I would book BA in addition to choosing oneworld for the rest.
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Old Jun 10, 2016, 7:51 pm
  #42  
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Originally Posted by ericcheung
I've used this before and really hope airlines continue to offer it even though it is not required by oneworld. For example, let's say I am doing a business trip to LHR (on AA, CX, JL) in J paid for by work. If I decide to spend the weekend in GVA and go skiing before heading back I would need to book a separate personal ticket on BA and the interlining of my ski gear from BA to AA/CX/JL would certainly be appreciated and the reason why I would book BA in addition to choosing oneworld for the rest.
BA and CX have both updated their policies to state that they will no longer provide through checking on separate tickets - though CX will still offer it on CX/KA-CX/KA
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Old Jun 10, 2016, 9:19 pm
  #43  
 
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I just had this experience last week. I had a paid ticket HKG NRT on CX in Y connecting to NRT DFW on AA in C. One of the AA tickets was paid with a systemwide upgrade and the other was on miles. When I checked in at the First Class check in (EP) I was told they would not/could check my luggage through to DFW. Since I didn't know about this change I firmly told them I knew they could do it. After lots of talking between themselves they did finally check the bags through.

As a side note the HKG NRT flight was delayed about 40 mins but we still had 90 mins to make the connection. The purser came to talk to me when the flight took off to welcome me as a OW Emerald, apoligize for the delay and ask about any connections. I told her the connection had plenty of time. 45 minutes before landing she came and moved two of us to Business so we would be able to disembark more quickly. There was a gate agent waiting with my name on it. We had plenty of time and spent 45 mind in then F lounge.

They were so difficult about the checked bags but went out of their way on the connection, interesting mixed message.
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Old Jun 10, 2016, 9:59 pm
  #44  
 
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Originally Posted by betonic
They were so difficult about the checked bags but went out of their way on the connection, interesting mixed message.
Once checked through, regardless of the initial ticketing situation, oneworld has traditionally been very good about taking care of people - one of the reasons I think many of us are disappointed about this change.
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Old Jun 11, 2016, 10:05 am
  #45  
 
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Star Alliance still offers interlining on separate tickets. I for one, will be sticking to that alliance now. OW is the smallest of the alliances anyway, so you'd think they would try to compensate for that by offering superior service to attract customers, but the opposite is true. They are the smallest and least relevant alliance in many parts of the world, and now also the alliance with the worst service level, so why use it if there is a choice?
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