Garuda interlining

Old Jan 6, 20, 6:24 am
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Garuda interlining

Morning,

I'm traveling on a Garuda award (DL SkyMiles) in C from DPS to NRT. I will then connect to a JAL flight in NRT 2h10 later, NRT>ORD. I wanted to see if anyone knows or has experience with Garuda interlining bags. I will be able to produce my JAL itinerary and check in information, so I hope I can get the bags checked all the way through to ORD. I'm going to try to phone Garuda customer service to get information added to my Garuda booking so they are aware there is another flight after I arrive in Tokyo. Thank you for any suggestions.
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Old Jan 6, 20, 2:16 pm
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I would suggest you will be lucky if you manage to achieve this if these are separate tickets, which seems to be the case. What happens if Garuda refuse to check through? Will you have enough time to exit, claim baggages and make it back to check in a different terminal and make it to the plane. 2 hours seems to be far too tight. Do you have a backup plan if the Garuda flight into NRT is just late so you can't make your next flight?
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Old Jan 7, 20, 10:55 pm
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You ask good questions. You are right. They are two separate bookings. Here's what has happened so far:

1. I emailed Garuda's customer service email ([email protected]) and asked them to add a note about my onward flight (with all details) to my Garuda reservation. They emailed back within a few hours confirming that they had done so and sent me a screenshot. As such, I'm feeling confident Garuda will check the bags onto the other flights. If somehow I get an agent who refuses to do this, then the back up plan in Bali is to put some money in my passport and hand it back to the agent. From past experience and what Balinese friends tell me, this doesn't cause offense and usually resolves all problems.

2. I will do online check in while in DPS for the JAL flight. It appears I can travel between terminals at NRT without passing through Japanese immigration, just a transit security check. The shuttle bus is about 10 minutes. This should make the transit fairly quick.

3. What if the Garuda flight is delayed so much that I'm going to miss the NRT connection? I hadn't given that much thought but now I will. If the Garuda flight is more than 1 hour late in departing, then I will call AA and cancel the award and redeposit the miles. Then I'll get a Y award (no C available) on UA's flight at 17:00 from NRT to IAD, and sit in Y for the whole flight thinking it really s*cks to sit in Y, but that's life

I hope that doesn't happen but it's good you mentioned it. That'll be my backup plan.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 4:02 am
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Originally Posted by Matthew_DC View Post

1. I emailed Garuda's customer service email ([email protected]) and asked them to add a note about my onward flight (with all details) to my Garuda reservation. They emailed back within a few hours confirming that they had done so and sent me a screenshot. As such, I'm feeling confident Garuda will check the bags onto the other flights. If somehow I get an agent who refuses to do this, then the back up plan in Bali is to put some money in my passport and hand it back to the agent. From past experience and what Balinese friends tell me, this doesn't cause offense and usually resolves all problems.
I think you've done everything you can to minimise the risk on a very risky strategy, and I love the idea of chucking in some money hoping it will resolve the issue! And yes, i've had to do it numerous times (mainly in CGK) for a variety of reasons at the airport, but a heads up it *can* cause further problems - do use your common sense and don't be committed to this course of action no matter what!

Personally, I would be at DPS Airport earlier than you want to allow you to do everything you are considering should it not work out. GA/JL DO have interline capabilities - and I find the staff at GA C desks (well, all desks tbh) often exceptionally helpful.

One question - is it 100% certain you can't take hand luggage only?
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Old Jan 9, 20, 4:41 am
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To clear up a few things:

1. Garuda has an interline agreement with JL, but this is only relevant on a single ticket. Whilst it is possible for GA to through-check onto JL, there is no reason they have to do so.

2. I have no idea whether the bribe will work, it may be that the agent is not empowered to check through.

3. If they don't check through you will have to collect your bag in NRT and then check it in again with JL, respecting the cut-off time to do so. You will then need to go through security again. With your timing this is getting tight.

4. If your flight into NRT is late or cancelled, your JL ticket will auto-cancel; you have no protection and are fully on your own to get to ORD. This could be expensive.

Just a few things to consider.
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Old Jan 11, 20, 5:32 pm
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Thanks for the further comments.

RE: hand luggage only - I will think about this and see if it's doable with a large carry-on. I'm taking a lot of gifts out for a birthday party, so I suppose I can get a disposable bag for the outbound and then just leave it. But I'm not sure I can get everything else into a carry-on. I will think about it.

RE: interlining - understood - the only experience I recall about interlining between two alliances with two separate tickets was CX (departing from IAD), connecting in HKG to TG (continuing on to BKK). They did it without a problem, but I know that's not a rule. I lucked out with non-American agents at a US airport who wanted to be helpful. They even tried to print the TG boarding pass for BKK-HKG, but failed. So I am cautiously hopeful. Chucking money at them is a last resort, and your post makes me think I'll get a Balinese friend to come with me up to check in to make sure the chucking is conducted in a culturally sensitive and appropriate manner while I look perplexed, anguished, apologetic and immensely grateful for any help they can provide.

If I end up having to sit on a UA flight for 12+ hours in Y, I am resigned to this. I will survive.
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Old Jan 21, 20, 6:46 pm
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How did this work out? Did you make the connection? I'm trying to do the exact same thing in a couple of weeks.
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Old Jan 22, 20, 7:05 am
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Originally Posted by Matthew_DC View Post

RE: interlining - understood - the only experience I recall about interlining between two alliances with two separate tickets
Please note that the term "interlining" can only correctly be used if all flights are issued on the same ticket. When airlines collaborate in a manner that allows their flights to be combined on a single ticket, then it is reasonable to assume that they would check bags through, which in this specific instance is called "interlining".

What you want here is for the first airline to check your bag through onto your second ticket.

When you are travelling on separate tickets, you can of course ask for bags to be checked through, but there is absolutely no obligation on the airlines to do so, even if it is technically possible. In fact, many airlines which would previously have done so no longer will. The downstream airline has no idea you are self-connecting and will not be expecting a checked bag if you do not check one in yourself at the check-in at that downstream airport. This means that the chances are much higher that the second airline will actually not load your bag. If you manage to have Garuda tag your bag through onto JAL, you would be well advised to ensure that you report to a JAL ground agent at the earliest opportunity at the "connection" airport, showing them your luggage tag and onward boarding pass, and alerting them to the fact that a bag is being transferred onto them unexpectedly.

But you must be prepared to accept that your bag may not be checked through. When you travel on separate tickets, you are taking on all the responsibility of meeting the check-in and boarding deadlines of all flights on the separate tickets, even if the earlier flight is delayed (or cancelled! Or diverted!) and retrieving your luggage at your self-connection point (what if your bag goes missing! You'll have to stick around and file a missing bag report before departing on your next flight!), which means leaving enough time to cover most delays, slow/delayed baggage collection, slow immigration procedures, etc etc

Plan pessimistically, when you are self-connecting. 2h10 sounds very very very tight for comfort, and I would definitely not attempt this connection with checked luggage. If GA refuses to check your bag through - which is the most likely outcome - then you will miss your onward flight from NRT, as there is no way you will manage to get landside with your luggage in time to meet the check-in deadline of that second flight.
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Old Jan 22, 20, 7:11 am
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Originally Posted by kateem View Post
How did this work out? Did you make the connection? I'm trying to do the exact same thing in a couple of weeks.
Don't take too much comfort from the stories where it worked out. A previous passenger in your circumstances may have been lucky, but you may not get the same check-in agent who would check your bags through.

You'd be advised to do as much as you can to mitigate the potential downsides of self-connecting by allowing yourself sufficient time during the connection to deal with late arrival, late baggage delivery, long immigration lines, all of which could cause you to miss your onward flight.

Or else travel without checked luggage!
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Old Feb 2, 20, 10:33 pm
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In the end....

Thanks to everyone for their comments and suggestions. Here's what happened in the end. I will put all the details so the pluses and minuses are clear (based on my experience - YMMV).

I arrived at DPS airport 2 hours before the 00:45 departure time. I should have arrived 3 hours earlier to make sure I had some Garuda lounge time!!!! I went to a SkyTeam priority checkin counter, but the guy indicated that there was a Biz checkin counter somewhere else. I was happy to stay and let him deal with the issues. At first he said that you're traveling only to NRT, so you'll have to collect your bags there and check them in at JAL in NRT. I said that I had emailed with Garuda customer service and they put a note in my record that I was connecting, and that it wouldn't be a problem to check my bags through to DCA, and that Garuda could interline them. I showed him the response from Garuda customer service and he read it. He then looked for the note in my reservation. I think this was crucial for success.

A conversation then ensued between him and someone senior in Indonesian (or Balinese, not sure ), and I heard the word "interline" and "customer service", and the guy took my phone and went and talked to someone. He came back and said they could do it. He asked to see my JAL boarding passes (I had done online checkin with JAL and had PDF boarding passes on my phone - I did not print them). He also looked at my printed itinerary on JAL which I had taken with me to DPS. It showed my ticket number.

The agent slowly typed in the connecting flight information He asked me what the code was for Chicago (ORD and then for Washington (DCA). He was extremely pleasant throughout this experience and wanted to help. Maybe it would have been even easier at the business checkin counter, wherever it was. After keying in a lot of information at his terminal, he finally produced 1 Garuda BP and attached to it 2 baggage tickets all the way through to DCA showing the relevant flights. He then asked for my passport and went off to talk to someone else about the whole matter. I was worried at this point there would be a problem.

He came back after about 10 minutes, returned my passport to me, the BP and the baggage tickets, and asked me to sign a waiver (see image below). After I signed, he gave me a copy and I left. This whole process took about 40 minutes, and because I had not arrived earlier, I had no Garuda lounge time in DPS. The Garuda flight was really nice. I have never flown on them before. Seat very good. Service great. Food very good. Arrived in Tokyo earlier than expected. Some things that happened at Tokyo were not expected.

Before exiting the plane, I was paged by ground staff on the plane PA system. My name + my connecting flight info JAL 10 to ORD. They advised me to see ground staff after exiting the plane. I was worried something bad was going to happen Upon exiting the plane, there was a woman standing with a sign with my name on it. I identified myself to her and she told me where I should go to get the bus to go to the JAL terminal, and that I should go to the transfer desk and get new BPs (and not use the BPs on my phone), and that was it. I went to the transfer bus area near gate 28, and I was surprised to see the bus only operated every 30 minutes. I will attach a picture of the bus timetable later. This meant I had to wait about 25 minutes for the bus as I had just missed one. Nothing to do about this, but it's good to know in terms of planning connection times. (Edit: frequency seems to increase in the afternoon to less than every 30 minutes - see photo in next post).

Bus finally arrived and I went to T2 and easily found the international connection desk. I showed the women the BP on my phone and she said, "We were expecting you." I saw a printed itinerary with my name on it next to her computer monitor. She took my phone, my passport and asked to see my baggage claim tickets from Garuda. She said they needed to do the checkin again, and they did. She confirmed that I had checked two bags. She asked if I have visited China in the last two weeks. She finished the checkin and returned the baggage claim tickets to me and gave me 2 BPs, one for JAL and one for AA. And that was it. I went to the Sakura lounge for about 45 minutes and then got the flight, where I'm writing this review now.

It all worked out, and I was impressed by the level of service in DPS and NRT, but I definitely wouldn't count on it always being like this. I think emailing with Garuda customer service was the key to success in DPS. And I should have arrived earlier at DPS. Thanks again to everyone for making suggestions and advising me about the potential pitfalls.

A note on the JAL flight. Great Japanese food. Seat seems very comfortable (window seat in C - 12K). IFE has a strange glitch which causes the films to pause momentarily every few minutes. But I'm happy with everything on this return trip to the US so far. Let's see how the connection goes in ORD and the flight for ORD-DCA. If the bags don't actually arrive, I will certainly add that detail

Status of bags: they arrived OK in ORD on same flight as I did. Apart from the usual tags for priority pax, there was a "TRANSFER" tag on both bags from Garuda. I'll send a photo after the trip is over. Glad to have my bags! PS: AA lost one bag from ORD to DCA. It is being delivered on a later flight.
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Last edited by Matthew_DC; Feb 4, 20 at 6:20 pm Reason: info added about waiver.
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Old Feb 4, 20, 1:13 am
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some photos

Here is what was actually attached to one bag. "TRANSFER" may be the correct way to describe this (as noted by another poster). The OneWorld priority label was presumably added in Tokyo because I don't think Garuda would have had that. I forgot to post a picture of the waiver form they gave me to sign at DPS. That is at the bottom.

The other photos are of the bus timetables I saw when getting the inter-terminal bus. Timetable 1 was going from T1 (Garuda) to T2 (JAL). The other photo, Timetable 2, was the photo I took when exiting at T2. A poster described this bus to me before my trip. I also saw the information here: https://www.narita-airport.jp/en/t_info. There were 2 stops at T1 by this bus. I boarded near Gate 28, and then the bus stopped at a higher gate number also at T1, but the PA advised that if you are going to T2, stay on the bus and don't get off at that stop.

Hope all of this information will be of help to anyone else doing this in the future.


Tags attached to the bag (by Garuda and then JAL)

Bus schedule, T1 to T2

Return bus schedule to T1?

Garuda waiver form for transferring bags.

Last edited by Matthew_DC; Feb 6, 20 at 6:39 am Reason: added information about waiver form
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