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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 Apr 4, 2024, 12:13 pm
  #1111  
 
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Originally Posted by Stockjock
I do have award miles on AS and AA, but not only could I book on AS using fewer miles, but, I won $2,024 flight credits from an online travel agency (Grand Prize), which is the biggest prize I've ever won. They expire at the end of 2024. So it made sense to use about $900 of that from DFW to FCO for 2 tickets, and the cash price for SAN to DFW didn't seem appealing to me. I'm trying to reserve some flight credits for a trip to Copenhagen in 2025 (I'll obviously have to book it before the end of 2024,)

Somewhat unusual circumstances, but I think that in my case, it made sense to book the way that I booked these flights.
You do you. But I would have 1 million times out of 1 million booked the SAN-DFW segment using AA miles so that you could have an agent put both tickets on one PNR and avoid the whole baggage claim and recheck process. 3 hours *should* be plenty of time but things always go wrong when you least expect.
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Old Apr 4, 2024, 12:42 pm
  #1112  
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Originally Posted by Stockjock
Just to be clear as to why I booked this way.

There were not good fares from SAN to FCO. But I got one-way, non-stop tickets from DFW to FCO for about $400 per person, which was a big savings. Used frequent flyer miles on Alaska to get the AA non-stop, early morning flight from SAN to DFW for 7,500 miles, which seemed very reasonable.

So I've got 3 hours and 5 minutes to land, collect my bags in DFW, recheck my bags, and get to the gate. Considering that I'm on the first early morning flight out of SAN, the equipment should already be there, and thus delays are not too likely. Even with a slight delay, 3+ hours in DFW should allow enough time to get this done unless things *really* go wrong.

Calculated risk, but I think the odds are on my side. Still, a bit of a hassle having to recheck in DFW, which I wasn't initially aware of.
So allowing for AA bag drop deadline you have closer to 2 hours not 3
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Old Apr 4, 2024, 8:09 pm
  #1113  
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Originally Posted by Stockjock
Considering that I'm on the first early morning flight out of SAN, the equipment should already be there, and thus delays are not too likely. Even with a slight delay, 3+ hours in DFW should allow enough time to get this done unless things *really* go wrong.
Originally Posted by no1cub17
3 hours *should* be plenty of time but things always go wrong when you least expect.
I was on the 6:00 am flight from LAX to ORD a week ago Saturday. The plane was there. The crew was there. Boarding was completed a good 15 minutes before scheduled departure. The the captain didn't like something about the plane; something that might have been solved by rebooting one system or another. A half hour later, we were told that we were not going to take this plane and that it had to go back to the hangar.

They were going to try finding another aircraft. A full flight, one empty seat, had to deplane. The agents had no clue if and when a substitute plane could be found. I rushed to the Admirals Club to try to get rebooked. The agent there told me that they found another airplane. It then took almost two hours to be brought to another gate. By the time that we boarded and the catering and luggage were transferred from the original plane, we blocked out we were two hours and 40 minutes late. With the cooperation of ATC, we arrived in Chicago only 2:20 late. Mind you, this issue arose at a hub with spare aircraft and a crew base with reserves, not at an outstation.

If this were to happen to you, with an hour cutoff for checking international baggage, you'd miss your flight to Rome.

I always recommend when flying on separate PNRs to an international destination that is served by only one daily flight, to arrive at the international gateway the day before.
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 3:01 am
  #1114  
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Originally Posted by Stockjock
. Even with a slight delay, 3+ hours in DFW should allow enough time to get this done unless things *really* go wrong.

Calculated risk, [].
Thats exactly what it boils down to - what risk is tolerable to you or not. This is an eminently personal calculation and as long as you feel happy with it, it is all that matters.

its one of those cases where if all works to plan youll be just fine, but it wouldnt make n fact take a massively unusual issue for things to go pear shaped especially if you check luggage. Plane goes tech,? a bit of weather in dfw? First flight simply cancelled? The issue is that if something goes wrong, there is really no realistic plan b and you lose the expensive ticket. For those reasons I dare say many people on this forum would not have been comfortable booking this, or if they did would definitely travel with hand luggage only, but again, this is all about individual appetite for risk,

Also, the no through check policy has been around for years.
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 9:43 am
  #1115  
 
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Originally Posted by no1cub17
You do you. But I would have 1 million times out of 1 million booked the SAN-DFW segment using AA miles so that you could have an agent put both tickets on one PNR and avoid the whole baggage claim and recheck process. 3 hours *should* be plenty of time but things always go wrong when you least expect.
I am not clear as to how I could’ve done that. As I mentioned, I won $2024 in flight credits from an online travel agency. So in order to partially use those credits, I had to book through them, and I don’t think they have the ability to book award travel and add it to my PNR. I called AA and even they said they wouldn't have had the ability to combine award travel and a paid ticket on one PNR number, but again, that's not really relevant since it wasn't an option under my circumstances.

Am I missing something?

Also, there is another flight that leaves exactly 1 hour later nonstop from SAN to DFW that right now has about 85% to 90% availability. So I guess that is always a possibility if something goes wrong. It would still get me there two hours and five minutes early, which is tight, but again it could work if something goes wrong with the first flight.

Last edited by Stockjock; Apr 5, 2024 at 11:09 am
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 2:48 pm
  #1116  
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Originally Posted by Stockjock
I called AA and even they said they wouldn't have had the ability to combine award travel and a paid ticket on one PNR number, but again, that's not really relevant since it wasn't an option under my circumstances.
Thats correct - there is no option to combine paid and award flight in a single booking by the airline itself let alone TAs.
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 3:02 pm
  #1117  
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Originally Posted by orbitmic
Thats correct - there is no option to combine paid and award flight in a single booking by the airline itself let alone TAs.
Unless something has changed, this is not correct. While AA cannot combine paid travel and award travel on a single ticket, a paid ticket and an award ticket can be placed on a single PNR when booked simultaneously by an AA agent. There are reports of this right here in this very thread:

​​​​​​:https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/31504856-post886.html

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/35637359-post1094.html

The problem, however, is that it might take some doing to reach an AA agent who knows about this.
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 3:06 pm
  #1118  
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Even if one of them is a ticket issued for AS?
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 3:11 pm
  #1119  
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Originally Posted by UKtravelbear
Even if one of them is a ticket issued for AS?
​​​​​As long as both tickets are issued by AA, it should not matter which carrier is operating the flights.
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 4:12 pm
  #1120  
 
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Originally Posted by Stockjock
I am not clear as to how I couldve done that. As I mentioned, I won $2024 in flight credits from an online travel agency. So in order to partially use those credits, I had to book through them, and I dont think they have the ability to book award travel and add it to my PNR. I called AA and even they said they wouldn't have had the ability to combine award travel and a paid ticket on one PNR number, but again, that's not really relevant since it wasn't an option under my circumstances.

Am I missing something?

Also, there is another flight that leaves exactly 1 hour later nonstop from SAN to DFW that right now has about 85% to 90% availability. So I guess that is always a possibility if something goes wrong. It would still get me there two hours and five minutes early, which is tight, but again it could work if something goes wrong with the first flight.
I don't think you mentioned that the credits were with an OTA. In that case yes you're beholden to the OTA's rules and of course OTAs can't issue AA award tickets so that's a moot point.

But as others have mentioned as long as the rules haven't totally changed, you can 100% book an award ticket and revenue ticket in the same PNR. You have to have an agent do this because the tickets have to be issued at the same time, AFAIK. But whichever agent you talked to was wrong (assuming like I said that the goalposts haven't totally moved). That wouldn't be the first time an AA agent has been wrong or clueless. Just an example but I had an AA agent tell me a few years back that I couldn't use my AA miles to book an Etihad award ticket. I thanked the first (wrong) agent, hung up, and immediately called back and fortunately got one that knew how to do their job. Had my EY award ticket 15 minutes later.

The knowledge base on FT far exceeds that of most AA agents.
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