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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 11, 2016, 9:00 pm
  #46  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
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
Super pissed about this. I use it for AA to CX trips a number of times a year. It seems especially out of character for CX, as they have always gone out of their way to provide excellent service every step of the way. Not that it'll accomplish much, if anything, but I tweeted them today about my frustrations with the #anti-lifewelltraveled policy change.
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Old Jun 11, 2016, 9:02 pm
  #47  
 
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Originally Posted by gordon0808
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?
I'd be tempted to make a switch if Star Alliance had a domestic footprint in Australia. I'd be fine for status benefits everywhere else I travel except domestically within Australia.
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Old Jun 12, 2016, 2:07 am
  #48  
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My 15 year old son is traveling tomorrow SEA-ORD-BOS and BOS-CDG on two separate tickets, all legs on AA. I had to get this itinerary (even though it cost $650 more than SEA-CDG nonstop on DL or connecting at JFK, ORD, or DFW on AA) because he needs to meet a group in BOS for the international leg.

Based on the comments in this thread, it appears that he can check his bag all the way through from SEA to CDG. Should we expect a charge for the bag on the domestic itinerary? My son has no status on AA.
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Old Jun 13, 2016, 8:47 am
  #49  
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They did let him check the bag all the way to CDG without charge for the domestic legs. Easy procedure. Took less than 10 minutes for the agent to process it.
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Old Jun 18, 2016, 2:56 pm
  #50  
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I'm quite surprised this nasty change from oneworld isn't getting more comments; this will negatively affect many. I've added a Wikipost in case it does. In this instance of airline parsimony and brigandry, some sill now have to choose:

  • Pay more - often much more - to conduct travel on a single PNR.

  • Schedule lengthy layovers to "self-protect" when connecting on different PNRs to reduce risk.

  • Plan to recover baggage and check in for your next PNR - even if that means going through immigration and customs formalities, possibly getting a required visa to go landside, and processing security to return airside.

Thank you, oneworld. Thank you for so rapidly and assiduously jumping on the bandwagon, BA and CX. Next?

(I've added the CX agent instructions to the first post.)

Last edited by JDiver; Jun 18, 2016 at 3:30 pm
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Old Jun 18, 2016, 3:03 pm
  #51  
 
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While American is good about not implementing this so far, they are the reason I have to do the separate tickets. It's easier to get award availability on a partner, and then eventually I have to buy a domestic ticket to connect with the award ticket.
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Old Jun 18, 2016, 6:33 pm
  #52  
 
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Well I hadn't commented because I don't have anything useful to add, other than the fact that I also find this a highly retrograde move.

Originally Posted by JDiver
[*]Plan to recover baggage and check in for your next PNR - even if that means going through immigration and customs formalities, possibly getting a required visa to go landside, and processing security to return airside.[/LIST]
So you do the above, but what happens if your baggage is delayed and doesn't arrive on the first flight? For example:
Flight 1: XXX-LHR
Flight 2 (on separate PNR): LHR-HKG
So we now have to schedule sevral hours in LHR to make sure we can clear Immigration, reclaim baggage and check in for the next flight. But what if your baggage doesn't arrive with you on XXX-LHR? BA says "so sorry, but it will be on the next flight tomorrow and we'll deliver it anywhere in London for you".
But meantime you are on your flight to HKG. Will you ever get your baggage?
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Old Jun 18, 2016, 6:44 pm
  #53  
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One thing I have to give credit to AA is that they even give you lounge access on separate itins, assuming of course that one of them is international. I didn't even think it was possible, until I tried, and I was pleasantly surprised...
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Old Jun 18, 2016, 6:57 pm
  #54  
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Originally Posted by NDFan
Well I hadn't commented because I don't have anything useful to add, other than the fact that I also find this a highly retrograde move.



So you do the above, but what happens if your baggage is delayed and doesn't arrive on the first flight? For example:
Flight 1: XXX-LHR
Flight 2 (on separate PNR): LHR-HKG
So we now have to schedule sevral hours in LHR to make sure we can clear Immigration, reclaim baggage and check in for the next flight. But what if your baggage doesn't arrive with you on XXX-LHR? BA says "so sorry, but it will be on the next flight tomorrow and we'll deliver it anywhere in London for you".
But meantime you are on your flight to HKG. Will you ever get your baggage?

If the XXX-LHR is on BA, then if the baggage fails to be delivered to London, BA will deliver onwards if necessary
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Old Jun 18, 2016, 7:00 pm
  #55  
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Originally Posted by JDiver
I'm quite surprised this nasty change from oneworld isn't getting more comments; this will negatively affect many. I've added a Wikipost in case it does. In this instance of airline parsimony and brigandry, some sill now have to choose:
Given that AA has not changed its policy at this time, I would have been surprised if there were many comments in this forum. On other fora for airlines which have changed policy ( plus the OW forum ) there is a fair number of comments
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Old Jun 18, 2016, 7:45 pm
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
Given that AA has not changed its policy at this time, I would have been surprised if there were many comments in this forum. On other fora for airlines which have changed policy ( plus the OW forum ) there is a fair number of comments
Considering the number of AA flyers who fly or connect to BA, CX, IB, JL, KA, MH, QF, QR, UL etc. I am surprised at the lack of traffic.
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Old Jun 18, 2016, 7:47 pm
  #57  
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Originally Posted by NDFan
Well I hadn't commented because I don't have anything useful to add, other than the fact that I also find this a highly retrograde move.



So you do the above, but what happens if your baggage is delayed and doesn't arrive on the first flight? For example:
Flight 1: XXX-LHR
Flight 2 (on separate PNR): LHR-HKG
So we now have to schedule sevral hours in LHR to make sure we can clear Immigration, reclaim baggage and check in for the next flight. But what if your baggage doesn't arrive with you on XXX-LHR? BA says "so sorry, but it will be on the next flight tomorrow and we'll deliver it anywhere in London for you".
But meantime you are on your flight to HKG. Will you ever get your baggage?
According to the BAEC thread linked to in the wikipost, it can indeed be dicey.
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Old Jun 18, 2016, 7:56 pm
  #58  
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Originally Posted by JDiver
Considering the number of AA flyers who fly or connect to BA, CX, IB, JL, KA, MH, QF, QR, UL etc. I am surprised at the lack of traffic.
But AA has a policy to protect passengers plus still has a policy to check bags through

Since there is no change for passengers who fly AA to connect to BA, CX etc , doesn't surprise me that there is little discussion about no change occurring
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Old Jun 18, 2016, 8:05 pm
  #59  
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
But AA has a policy to protect passengers plus still has a policy to check bags through

Since there is no change for passengers who fly AA to connect to BA, CX etc , doesn't surprise me that there is little discussion about no change occurring
I'll be sure to mention that if I miss a connection to the mentioned airlines and they deny me protection for my connection. "But Dave Noble said I'd had no worries."
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Old Jun 18, 2016, 8:08 pm
  #60  
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Originally Posted by JDiver
I'll be sure to mention that if I miss a connection to the mentioned airlines and they deny me protection for my connection. "But Dave Noble said I'd had no worries."
There is no more or no less documented by AA that it will protect where there is a misconnect / check baggage through from AA now than there was last month

I believe that the guidance in the agency pages has not changed and , it appears that AA has stated that there is no change to its policies at this time

AA has never published anything on its public pages about through checking and protection - why would there be reason to think it has changed at this time

If / When AA does decide to follow the same policies as BA, CX et al , I assume that the agency pages will be updated accordingly --- and then I expect the wailing and gnashing of teeth to begin
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