How does interlining bags actually work?

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Old Mar 24, 19, 3:42 pm
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How does interlining bags actually work?

I'm curious as to how interlining works considering OW carriers won't interline bags on separate tickets, but I'll use a hypothetical example where there's a non-IAG/OW carrier involved.

Let's assume I land at JFK on a domestic JetBlue flight (T5) and want to transfer to BA (T7), is the issue that these carriers won't interline by bags, or that they can't interline my bags?

I understand that the key business issue at stake is that BA doesn't want to be responsible for the costs of a lost bag, which they're on the hook for even if JetBlue loses the luggage, but who actually transports the bags from the plane to the terminal, around the terminal, or to the next plane?

Let's say there's an outstation which lets me print luggage tags, attach them myself, and then take them to a drop-off point. Since I have access to a printer, I sneakily print my own tags at home with LHR as the final destination. Will my bags magically make it to London?
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Old Mar 24, 19, 5:28 pm
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If you have a single ticket with both airlines on, then they can and will interline.

Separate, then they won’t.

If you print/create your own tags, what info would you put in the barcode?
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Old Mar 24, 19, 5:33 pm
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With the caveat that I'm not actually planning on printing my own baggage tags:

Does the AA and BA barcodes match up with a common system, or is someone checking the tags when a bag interlines? At an airport such as JFK, how does a bag arriving at T8 on AA know to arrive at T7 for BA? Is it BA, AA, or JFK employees who are actually getting to bags between airports?
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Old Mar 24, 19, 6:03 pm
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Rather than posting hypotheticals, why not tell us the exact situation which is of concern to you.

Where are you flying to and from, on what carriers, and what are you trying to accomplish?
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Old Mar 24, 19, 6:24 pm
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Sorry - I appreciate that this post is borderline off-topic for this forum: I'm trying to understand if I could interline a bag on two separate tickets, by taking the lost bag risk upon myself of a lost bag and getting an agreement with either a carrier, or the airport.

But I'm asked the original hypothetical because I genuinely want to know how my bags, actually, physically, move between AA and BA when I transfer at JFK or LHR.

Last edited by expataus; Mar 24, 19 at 6:38 pm
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Old Mar 24, 19, 6:49 pm
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At LHR there is an underground conveyor belt. it’s trucks at JFK

as to your hypothetical it’s that those two airlines won’t interline unkess the trip is a single ticket. Printing your own bag tags won’t get around that and if tried it’s likely you’ll lose your bags in the bowels of JFK and making arrangements to retrieve them.

BA and AA won’t interline it on separate tickets even if it’s to or between themselves . Other One aworld airlies will..
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Old Mar 24, 19, 7:03 pm
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Thanks UKtravelbear, I assumed as much. Out of curiosity, are the belts/trucks run by the airline staff, or separate airport employees: who decides which bags get moved to another terminal, or is that purely based on automation via the barcode?
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Old Mar 24, 19, 7:11 pm
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Let’s say you have EDI-LHR booked on BE

then

LHR-MSY on BA.

If you pitch up at EDI and managed to get your BA bag tags printed flybe bag drop wouldn’t accept a bag tagged MSY with no associated BE leg on the booking.

I thonk i mnow how your trying to bodge the system but it wouldn’t work


cs
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Old Mar 24, 19, 7:15 pm
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Originally Posted by expataus View Post
But I'm asked the original hypothetical because I genuinely want to know how my bags, actually, physically, move between AA and BA when I transfer at JFK or LHR.
It's the landing aircraft operator's responsibility to offload an aircraft, so they would handle that - often using a contracted handling agent such as Swissport. Then the departing operator handles the loading, again it often uses handling agents, and in many cases it could quite easily be the same agent. At NCL, for example, Swissport do 100% of apron handling for all airlines, so if you went Flybe to BA it could be the same person doing both activities, and it's definitely the same company.

The bit in between - swapping loads between aircraft - is the heart of interline agreements, so if two airlines have an interline agreement they agree to swap each other's baggage and to do this requires the use of barcodes using an IATA specified format. This gets invoked when you have through ticketing and so if you had a Flybe ticket from ABZ-NCL then NCL-LHR, then the Flybe agent could print a label through to LHR, Swissport in NCL would recognise the label and should redirect it to the BA service.

Let's say instead of going to a travel agent to get that through ticket, you decided to buy 2 sets of tickets, one from Flybe and the next from BA. If you put your own tag on saying "please send me to LHR" then it wouldn't work since the agent in ABZ would be the final person touching that bag, s/he would probably rip off your tag, but in any event would put the IATA barcoded tag to NCL on the bag, and it would end up on the carousel just before landside. And in many airports baggage reclaim is already fully landside, EDI was until very recently, most USA airports have carousels fully landside.

Now I used NCL since that is the simplest one I know, but in JFK the bags would be offloaded by AA and if IATA tagged, put on a shuttle truck that goes from T8 to T7 every 10 minutes or so. In T7 the BA contracted agents then load the bag on to the BA service. In LHR it would be AA again offloading (I think it's still in-house there), taken to the T3 warehouse, bar code read, then AA places the bag on a belt going all the way over to T5, takes 10 minutes or so. It then ends up in the BA controlled T5 Automated Warehouse and then matched (eventually) with your Ready to Fly status. If RtF says you are boarding the next flight, the warehouse releases your bag to the flight. If it's a Rush transfer it can go straight to the departing gate rather than sitting in the AWH. All of this is barcode controlled, and largely automated at LHR. At JFK it's semi-automated, the baggage handlers have tablets which scan the codes and tells the handler where to send the bag. And you will appreciate that unless the barcode is correct - and in the case of T5 links in with your RtF record, you won't be able to short-cut this very easily on two tickets.

JetBlue has a paper ticket and baggage interline arrangement with BA, but not an e-ticket arrangement.

Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; Mar 24, 19 at 7:20 pm
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Old Mar 24, 19, 7:36 pm
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A few years ago I managed to interline baggage on two separate oneworld reservations. I didn't ask for it, it was proactively offered it by the check in agent, although I understand this would no longer be offered. Booking 1 was AA FLL- JFK and Booking 2 was BA JFK-LHR. The AA agent at FLL needed my BA booking reference and ticket number. I just retrieved my booking on the BA app and handed my phone over showing all info needed. The bag tag was printed showing LHR via JFK for the specific flights I was booked on and attached accordingly. No boarding pass could be provided however for JFK-LHR. Upon arrival at JFK T8 I made the transit over to T7 (landside transfer) and checked in with BA. I advised my bag had already been thru-checked by AA and handed over my claim check that I'd been given at FLL. The agent manually added the AA tag number to my BA booking and that was that, boarding pass issued and on my way to departures. I'm assuming the bag would have been delivered by AA to the correct area when I arrived and would have been loaded to the BA cargo container once the bag had been cross referenced against a specific passenger on the flight. Upon arrival at LHR the bag was one of the first on the reclaim belt and I was on my way.
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Old Mar 24, 19, 8:49 pm
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Thanks everyone, this was exactly the information I was looking for.

Obviously, I was secretly hoping there would be some mythical way of gaming the system, paid or otherwise.
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Old Mar 24, 19, 9:32 pm
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You probably could have done it 30-40 years ago domestically, when preprinted bag tags were color-coded with the destination and handwritten, assuming you could either steal or counterfeit one, and somehow get it into the system without an agent noticing it. I recall Southwest had a little cabinet of bag tags for each possible destination in the jetway for late gate-checks. They’d ask your final then pick out a tag that matched.

Interesting thread. Thanks.
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Old Mar 24, 19, 10:00 pm
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There is some useful information on the technical details in this blog post https://javadude.wordpress.com/2017/...ing-refresher/
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Old Mar 26, 19, 8:03 am
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Originally Posted by JAXBA View Post
If you have a single ticket with both airlines on, then they can and will interline.

Separate, then they won’t.

If you print/create your own tags, what info would you put in the barcode?
I have a premium economy BA flight with my friend going YYZ-LHR. These are 2 different PNRs because of where we flew from (and when) to get to YYZ. We decided to catch a BA flight LHR-CDG a few hours after our first flight from YYZ lands in LHR. This LHR-CDG flight has the same PNR for both of us.

Any chance of checking out bags through to CDG when we check in at YYZ, or will we need to go through passport control twice and customs with our bags at LHR? It would be a lot easier for us to just go thru transfer at LHR. Unfortunately we could not make the YYZ-LHR-CDG bookings on the same PNRs because of personal circumstances.
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Old Mar 26, 19, 8:11 am
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Originally Posted by tmac100 View Post
Any chance of checking our bags through to CDG
Slim to none. See main thread here: BA no longer through checking baggage with separate tickets
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