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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 OAGs 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 its 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 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 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 youre 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 Im not sure how they can retroactively apply it to tickets purchased before the new policy was implemented.

Theres 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 youre booked on two separate PNRs on oneworld carriers, youve previously been able to check your bags through to your final destination
  • If youre booked on two separate tickets on oneworld carriers, youve 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 Sep 22, 2019, 8:59 am
  #946  
 
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Originally Posted by Often1
Because many people on FT rely on the advice given for future travel, the key here is to understand that PNR's and tickets are not the same thing, although many people wrongly use the terms interchangeably.

AA's rule is that it will not check bags across tickets unless they are booked into the same PNR and the onwards ticket is a OW carrier, including AA.

Doing that means booking the two or more tickets at the same time. While an AA phone agent is theoretically capable of doing this, very few are trained to do it and it may be a very real hassle to get one who is. Best to use a real TA. TA does not include one of the opaque third-party vendors sometimes referred to here as OTA's.

I still have several questions about this. But I'll start with the "easy" one. (I hope.)

After initially asking a different question, I "googled" PNR. If my understanding is correct, does the term "PNR" actually have any relevance at all to a traveler flying solo?

Last edited by cmtlatitudes; Sep 22, 2019 at 9:04 am Reason: Changed question
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Old Sep 22, 2019, 9:42 am
  #947  
 
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Originally Posted by cmtlatitudes
I still have several questions about this. But I'll start with the "easy" one. (I hope.)

After initially asking a different question, I "googled" PNR. If my understanding is correct, does the term "PNR" actually have any relevance at all to a traveler flying solo?
No, because multiple passengers can of course be on one PNR.
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Old Sep 22, 2019, 11:08 am
  #948  
 
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Originally Posted by Often1
It has nothing to do with either this routing or with AA. Neither DL nor UA check bags across separate tickets to HA, although they are a bit easier with online separate tickets and separate tickets within ST and *A respectively. OP would be in this pickle no matter his originating carrier.

This is a significant revenue issue for HA and especially so because legacy carrier premium cabin, elite and CC passengers do not qualify for bag waivers on HA. Thus, people show up at their HI gateway with the 2-3 overweight bags they thought they could carry onwards without fee, only to wind up paying for all 3 bags and overweight fees as well.

I'm still trying to understand this and admit to not being completely there. I can't tell from Often1's post what the "significant revenue issue" facing HA actually is, and that correlates to the substantial pricing differential between AA and HA for the same seat on the same flight.

Does HA prefer passengers to purchase the HNL-KOA ticket directly from them, and of course then directly pay all HA checked bag fees and overweight fees? Or when AA prices ridiculous codeshare fares for $1800 HNL-KOA, when HA is charging $100 for the same seat, does HA actually receive the revenue portion of that ticket from AA?

(Also, is "ST" a booking code? I think *A is a discounted first/business (?), but don't know ST)
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Old Sep 22, 2019, 12:36 pm
  #949  
 
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Originally Posted by cmtlatitudes
I'm still trying to understand this and admit to not being completely there. I can't tell from Often1's post what the "significant revenue issue" facing HA actually is, and that correlates to the substantial pricing differential between AA and HA for the same seat on the same flight.

Does HA prefer passengers to purchase the HNL-KOA ticket directly from them, and of course then directly pay all HA checked bag fees and overweight fees? Or when AA prices ridiculous codeshare fares for $1800 HNL-KOA, when HA is charging $100 for the same seat, does HA actually receive the revenue portion of that ticket from AA?

(Also, is "ST" a booking code? I think *A is a discounted first/business (?), but don't know ST)
It's a revenue issue because HA doesn't allow free checked bags. So if AA were to check a bag across separate AA and HA tickets, HA misses out on checked bag revenue. In the case of codeshares and through tickets, these are covered by interline agreements between the airlines. AA and HA have a mutual understanding that they'll sell tickets on each other's flights, to make it easier for customers. That doesn't mean that the through ticket will be cheaper, just that they'll sell the through ticket.

An example of this is if you bought a through ticket AA connecting to HA. Your bags would be checked through. If they didn't arrive at your final destination, your incidental expenses would be covered by HA not AA, as part of their interline agreement. HA doesn't want to take responsibility for your bags if you were on separate tickets, however.
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Old Sep 22, 2019, 12:45 pm
  #950  
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Originally Posted by cmtlatitudes

(Also, is "ST" a booking code? I think *A is a discounted first/business (?), but don't know ST)
ST = Sky Team eg Delta / KLM / Air France
*A = Star Alliance eg Lufthansa / United
and for completness OW = One World Alliance e.g AA, BA

In terms of fare buckets it would be a plain A for discounted first
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Old Sep 22, 2019, 12:49 pm
  #951  
 
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Originally Posted by UKtravelbear
ST = Sky Team eg Delta / KLM / Air France
*A = Star Alliance eg Lufthansa / United
and for completness OW = One World Alliance e.g AA, BA

In terms of fare buckets it would be a plain A for discounted first
Ah. OK, Thanks. Wasn't thinking about those.
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Old Sep 22, 2019, 2:48 pm
  #952  
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Originally Posted by no1cub17
Not true. For example if you have an award and revenue ticket in the same PNR, AA will check the bags through. In this case the award ticket and revenue tickets are technically separate tickets with distinct ticket numbers. But under one PNR.

A good agent could theoretically issue end-on-end tickets inside the same PNR, which would accomplish the same thing.
Theres an exception when in one ticket is award and one revenue AND both are with OW airlines. There's also the exception where AA is required to check across tickets duecto disability accommodation. However in general, all that AA cares about is that it's on one ticket.
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Old Sep 22, 2019, 4:37 pm
  #953  
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Originally Posted by flyerCO
Theres an exception when in one ticket is award and one revenue AND both are with OW airlines..
Where'd you get that impression?
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Old Sep 22, 2019, 8:47 pm
  #954  
 
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Originally Posted by flyerCO
Theres an exception when in one ticket is award and one revenue AND both are with OW airlines. There's also the exception where AA is required to check across tickets duecto disability accommodation. However in general, all that AA cares about is that it's on one ticket.
I'm not sure what you mean. AA cares about single PNR, not necessarily single ticket. AA won't check bags across an award and revenue ticket unless they're on the same PNR.
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Old Sep 22, 2019, 11:08 pm
  #955  
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Originally Posted by JonNYC
Where'd you get that impression?
AA agent here at SAT told me the one time they still did it was when one award and one was revenue, but both had to be OW operated.
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Old Sep 22, 2019, 11:19 pm
  #956  
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Originally Posted by no1cub17
I'm not sure what you mean. AA cares about single PNR, not necessarily single ticket. AA won't check bags across an award and revenue ticket unless they're on the same PNR.
When you tag across tickets, agent adds the flights and ticket number to the existing PNR. Thus it'll be all on one PNR.

Example-
PNR 1 - $ - ABCDEF - SAT-DFW-JFK
PNR 2 - AWARD - UVWXYZ - JFK-LHR

Checkin at SAT, agent pulls up PNR ABCDEF, adds segment JFK-LHR and ticket number to the PNR. Agent then prints tag SAT-DFW-JFK-LHR and BPs print all the way to LHR.
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Old Sep 23, 2019, 6:46 am
  #957  
 
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Originally Posted by cmtlatitudes
Traveling DCA to KOA (Kona, Hawaii). If I purchase an AA ticket from DCA - HNL, and HA (Hawaiian Airlines) ticket from HNL to KOA, is it possible to have my checked bag checked through to KOA?

Luggage obviously preferable having checked through all the way. I'll deal with schlepping my bag through the pick-up / recheck / security process though in HNL if that is the only option however. The DCA-HNL fare is $1800-$2000 < the DCA-KOA fare with added HNL-KOA code share leg operated by HA. I can buy the HA ticket on the same flight direct from HA for $100 in economy or $150 in First.
OK, so way back in #919 I asked the original question above. There's been a lot of good dialogue and back/forth discussion about the differences between PNRs, tickets, and how/why the baggage fee issue with HA would effect AA's codeshare pricing to be so out of whack. Even though there's disagreement among the forum I'm glad to see it being discussed and the points folks are bringing forward. (A couple quotes below).

Originally Posted by flyerCO
Has zero to do with it. Bag fees are the reason along with making it inconvenient to purchase 2 separate tickets, instead of 1, to get away paying less.
Originally Posted by cmtlatitudes
I usually don't do things like this. Honestly, I just can't be bothered. And if it were even quasi-reasonable I wouldn't do it.

But in this case AA is quoting $1853.00 ADDITIONAL - that's ON TOP OF the $1693.00 fare to HNL - to ticket me through to KOA on their code share operated by HA. It's a 49 minute flight, that HA is offering directly for $100 in economy, $110 for a preferred seat, and $150 in First. On the exact same flight. That AA is charging $1853 for.

It's way out of family with reasonableness and honestly leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth AA is playing these kind of shenanigans with their pricing on preferred routes. If it were $200 - $500 more I'd gladly pay a mark-up for convenience. Flights to KOA from the East Coast on same days on United and HA, in their lie flats, are less than < $2000.
Originally Posted by Often1
It has nothing to do with either this routing or with AA. Neither DL nor UA check bags across separate tickets to HA, although they are a bit easier with online separate tickets and separate tickets within ST and *A respectively. OP would be in this pickle no matter his originating carrier.

This is a significant revenue issue for HA and especially so because legacy carrier premium cabin, elite and CC passengers do not qualify for bag waivers on HA. Thus, people show up at their HI gateway with the 2-3 overweight bags they thought they could carry onwards without fee, only to wind up paying for all 3 bags and overweight fees as well.
The PNR/Ticket/Baggage discussion has been interesting, but there's still obviously not consensus among knowledgeable forum members as to the PNR/Ticketing rules on two separate PNRs and/or Tickets. It'd be great to know the correct answers, as it'll come up again - although it sounds like it's not applied evenly within AA, causing some of the confusion. Remit the baggage, I was not able to completely wrap my head around the explanations as to why the HA baggage fee issue would be the root cause of AA's bizarrely high markup on the HNL-KOA leg operated by HA however.

But specific to my flight, both questions ended up being OBE. Reasons below:

Originally Posted by no1cub17
Oh yeah. Hawaii pricing is totally bizarre, especially when AA-HA connections are involved. Just have to keep checking and get lucky to get the ticket you want at a reasonable price. You may also check WN? They've been selling inter-island flights for cheap, and of course checked bags are included.
I ended up having to push the reschedule off a couple days from the weekend and oddly there was one selection connecting through DFW to KOA (vice only to HNL and booking HNL-KOA on a separate HA ticket) that was reasonably in family with other carriers and did not contain the $1800+ add on for the HNL-KOA codeshare the other available flights did. $2K vice $3.5K. I booked it last night, happy to pay about $400 over the price of separate tickets, especially because the ticket booking code was "J" all the way through. Giving me 3X EQM.

The thing is, I'm not certain the luggage fee has anything to do it with the somewhat bizarre differential, at least not directly. ((??) Or if it is does, please let me know more the "why". Am genuinely interested.))

What I found interesting was that all the $3500 fares through to KOA, around my dates, were Booking Code "D"s. They seem to not map into HA's codes for the HNL-KOA leg, even when F fares were available on HA for the same flight. A flight with a "J" code all the way through priced substantially less and in line with expected prices, around ~$2000. That seems counter intuitive, that D would be higher. But it worked out that way every flight I checked on that routing around my dates. "J" and "I" (when lucky enough to find an "I") mapped logically as one would expect to pricing levels. But "D" was totally out of whack when adding in the HNL-KOA codeshare leg. (FWIW, just my observation on why the pricing might seem so bizarre.)

Last edited by cmtlatitudes; Sep 23, 2019 at 6:57 am Reason: added clarifications
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Old Sep 23, 2019, 7:11 am
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Originally Posted by cmtlatitudes
...The PNR/Ticket/Baggage discussion has been interesting, but there's still obviously not consensus among knowledgeable forum members as to the PNR/Ticketing rules on two separate PNRs and/or Tickets
The answers are actually pretty accessible, it's clouded, though, by some members posting anecdote and their personal opinions as actual policy.
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Old Sep 23, 2019, 7:42 am
  #959  
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Originally Posted by flyerCO
When you tag across tickets, agent adds the flights and ticket number to the existing PNR. Thus it'll be all on one PNR.

Example-
PNR 1 - $ - ABCDEF - SAT-DFW-JFK
PNR 2 - AWARD - UVWXYZ - JFK-LHR

Checkin at SAT, agent pulls up PNR ABCDEF, adds segment JFK-LHR and ticket number to the PNR. Agent then prints tag SAT-DFW-JFK-LHR and BPs print all the way to LHR.
What that agent did was improper and highly against policy.

As well, baggage tracker wont accept and ramper will have to force it leading to a lot of mishandled bags.

There is is no exception for award<-> revenue separate tix thats made up.

Last edited by JonNYC; Sep 23, 2019 at 7:56 am
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Old Sep 23, 2019, 10:03 am
  #960  
 
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Originally Posted by flyerCO
When you tag across tickets, agent adds the flights and ticket number to the existing PNR. Thus it'll be all on one PNR.

Example-
PNR 1 - $ - ABCDEF - SAT-DFW-JFK
PNR 2 - AWARD - UVWXYZ - JFK-LHR

Checkin at SAT, agent pulls up PNR ABCDEF, adds segment JFK-LHR and ticket number to the PNR. Agent then prints tag SAT-DFW-JFK-LHR and BPs print all the way to LHR.
That is against policy and (supposedly) agents who did this would get in big trouble (if they were even able to override the system).

I think you're still not clear on the difference between ticket and PNR. It is entirely possible to book an award ticket and revenue ticket inside a single PNR (assuming AA/oneworld). There's no "exception" per se, because this is a clearly laid out policy.
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