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No baggage allowance per ticket on business class TPE-PEK-IAD?

No baggage allowance per ticket on business class TPE-PEK-IAD?

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Old Jun 15, 19, 3:13 pm
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No baggage allowance per ticket on business class TPE-PEK-IAD?

Haven't run into this before or seen the exact scenario described in my searches. Booked on United.com three business class award tickets from Tapei to Beijing (on Air China business class) and then connecting Beijing to DC (on United business class). Strangely, the e-ticket stated the baggage allowance was $200 fee for first bag, $200 fee for second bag even though a business class award ticket (and $200 isn't even the correct amount for any Air China baggage fees).

I called Air China who said United determines the baggage allowance, even though the e-ticket says it's Air China per DOT rules. When pressed, the agent said one 50 lb bag was allowed b/c it was an "award ticket" on a domestic flight (although Taiwan to China is regional, not domestic, and the entire itinerary is international). Then an Air China agent finally responded by email to say I should be allowed 2 bags per person but the ticket doesn't specify how many bags I'm allowed so I might just have to pay for all my bags (helpful).

I talked to United who first said they had no idea what the baggage allowance should be. Then they said it should be 2 bags per person b/c it involved an international business class trans-Pacific flight on United. So they said the e-ticket should show 2 bags but it somehow didn't seem to be recognizing that the ticket was business class for baggage purposes (?!?). They tried re-issuing the ticket but that didn't help so they escalated it to their technical support to fix and said that I should call back in a week to check its status.

Not especially confident United will be able to figure this out. From everything I know/have read, the ticket should have 2 checked bags included per person. No idea why this issue would be occurring but am obviously concerned if they can't fix it, I will have problems checking in bags in Taipei with a ticket that claims each bag costs $200 and no consistent comments from Air China.

Anyone run into this excessive baggage fee quote on Air China-United business class awards?
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Old Jun 15, 19, 3:54 pm
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The bag allowance on the UA receipt when the first flight is not UA is often inaccuracy on award tickets.

You should receive the UA business class allowance (and any *A elite bag benefit, if you have status)
This "confusion" is not unusually for mixed carrier tickets.
Fortunately the airport system are more reliable than the UA receipt or the phone agents.


If you are charged a bag fee (highly unlikely) instead of the UA allowance then submit to UA for a refund.
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Old Jun 15, 19, 6:57 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
You should receive the UA business class allowance (and any *A elite bag benefit, if you have status)
This "confusion" is not unusually for mixed carrier tickets.
Fortunately the airport system are more reliable than the UA receipt or the phone agents.
That doesnít sound right. Assuming TPE-PEK-IAD is on one ticket, and this is a one-way or the outbound portion of the trip, bag allowance should be whatever CA allows for a TPE-DC trip (plus one extra for *G). The DOT rule prevails on itineraries to/from the US, overriding the MSC rule used everywhere else. The IATA MSC rule on its own would be the UA allowance, but since the destination is US, the rule of the marketing carrier of the first segment prevails. Since this is an award ticket, CA would have to be the marketing carrier. Only way it would be different is if this is not the first segment on the itinerary, e.g., if this is the return half of a round trip that started with a UA IAD-PEK flight, then the UA bag allowance would prevail.
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Old Jun 15, 19, 7:27 pm
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Maybe some of the legal experts can chime in, but the way I see it, even though there is a codeshare involved, you have a contract with United to get you from A to B, and all dealings are between you and United, unless specified in the COC.

United Baggage Policy states that:

When a customer travels on a codeshare flight or on an aircraft operated by a Star Alliance member airline, then the policy regarding checked bags follows the rules determined by the originating marketing carrier.
Since your originating flight is on CA, their policy governs.

Air China International Baggage Policy

(2) Weight
(i) First/Business Class passengers
First/Business Class adult and child passengers may check in two pieces of baggage for free, each weighing up to 32 kg (70 lb)
So the above is your allowance. As Wine mentioned, the worst case sceniero is that you will have to pay CA up front and get a refund from UA. You might want to screen-shot that page, as a just-in-case.

Last edited by phkc070408; Jun 15, 19 at 7:35 pm
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Old Jun 15, 19, 7:40 pm
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Originally Posted by phkc070408 View Post

Maybe some of the legal experts can chime in, but the way I see it, even though there is a codeshare involed, you have a contract with United to get you from A to B, and all dealings are between you and United, unless specified in the COC.

Not a lawyer, but please donít confuse the subject by bringing in concepts that arenít relevant.

There is no codeshare here. Codeshare is a very specific terminology which refers to marketing a flight flown by a different carrier. Itís certainly possible United codeshares on this flight (UA XXXX operated by CA), but since this is an award flight, it can not be a codeshare - award flights can only be sold as the operating flight number. So OP bought he flight as CA XXX, and it isnít a codeshare.

Second, there are rules that the airlines have agreed to through the IATA which are fairly clear. In this case, the DOT rule over rides the generally used IATA rule worldwide for flights to/from the US.
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Old Jun 15, 19, 10:53 pm
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There is no codeshare here. Codeshare is a very specific terminology which refers to marketing a flight flown by a different carrier. Itís certainly possible United codeshares on this flight (UA XXXX operated by CA), but since this is an award flight, it can not be a codeshare - award flights can only be sold as the operating flight number. So OP bought he flight as CA XXX, and it isnít a codeshare.


OK, I just looked up the definition of codeshare and I stand corrected. Thank you for pointing that out.

Regardless of the terminology error, the principle is still the same, that UA is the party that OP needs to work out any differences between advertised and ticketed baggage allowances.
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Old Jun 15, 19, 11:09 pm
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Originally Posted by phkc070408 View Post
OK, I just looked up the definition of codeshare and I stand corrected. Thank you for pointing that out.

Regardless of the terminology error, the principle is still the same, that UA is the party that OP needs to work out any differences between advertised and ticketed baggage allowances.
There is nothing to work out. It is just a bad message on receipt. OP will receive normal CA business class baggage allowance.
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Last edited by TerryK; Jun 15, 19 at 11:15 pm
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Old Jun 16, 19, 12:53 am
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Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
That doesnít sound right. Assuming TPE-PEK-IAD is on one ticket, and this is a one-way or the outbound portion of the trip, bag allowance should be whatever CA allows for a TPE-DC trip (plus one extra for *G). The DOT rule prevails on itineraries to/from the US, overriding the MSC rule used everywhere else. The IATA MSC rule on its own would be the UA allowance, but since the destination is US, the rule of the marketing carrier of the first segment prevails. Since this is an award ticket, CA would have to be the marketing carrier. Only way it would be different is if this is not the first segment on the itinerary, e.g., if this is the return half of a round trip that started with a UA IAD-PEK flight, then the UA bag allowance would prevail.
The DOT rule isnít as cut and dried as that, unfortunately. In fact, itís clear as mud. The DOT rule states that the same allowance must occur throughout the journey, and that the allowance must be included upon the receipt. UA fails miserably at the latter in certain cases ó including this one ó but the former is usually supported.

However, the DOT rule specifically gives the operating carrier of the first segment the right to use the MSC rule, provided the flight isnít a codeshare. Thus, CA can choose to use their own allowance or they can defer to UA.

Originally Posted by phkc070408 View Post
you have a contract with United to get you from A to B, and all dealings are between you and United, unless specified in the COC.
That much is true.

Originally Posted by phkc070408 View Post
Regardless of the terminology error, the principle is still the same, that UA is the party that OP needs to work out any differences between advertised and ticketed baggage allowances.
That much really isnít, though, unless the OP wants to file a DOT complaint for the wrong information being displayed upon the receipt. UA isnít going to work anything out ó theyíre going to say ďCAís policy governs.Ē (Itís not even clear whoís at fault, actually ó UA is essentially acting as a travel agent on a MileagePlus booking, so theoretically they should just be parroting back what CA is telling them).

Originally Posted by TerryK View Post
OP will receive normal CA business class baggage allowance.
This, I agree with. I would ignore the information on the UA receipt and expect that I will receive either the CA or UA TPAC allowance.
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Old Jun 16, 19, 6:24 am
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bag allowances on UA award tickets are pretty much always wrong as soon as partner flights are involved. In many cases the nonsense they print on paid tickets is wrong as well. Apparently it is too much work for their IT group to fix this.
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Old Jun 16, 19, 7:19 am
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This is no different than long haul awards when the website says "no meal" when obviously there is one.

Of course there is free baggage on a business class long haul flight.
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Old Jun 16, 19, 7:31 pm
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Thanks everyone for their input. It sounds like the baggage allowance should be the usual 2 bags for business class. But it's annoying that all the airline websites have a disclaimer that the final baggage allowance will be whatever is listed on your e-ticket and the e-ticket is so off. Since I have quite a bit of time until this itinerary, I will continue to follow up with United to see if they end up fixing this on the e-ticket. After all, that should technically be the final terms everyone follows....
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Old Jun 16, 19, 8:19 pm
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Originally Posted by victoras View Post
... I will continue to follow up with United to see if they end up fixing this on the e-ticket. .....
IMO, that will be a complete waste of time and frustration generating. It is unlikely anything will change and it will not matter.

Make the trip and in the extremely unlikely circumstances you are charge, UA will refund the fee. In the meantime, forget about the issue.
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Old Jun 17, 19, 6:00 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
IMO, that will be a complete waste of time and frustration generating. It is unlikely anything will change and it will not matter.

Make the trip and in the extremely unlikely circumstances you are charge, UA will refund the fee. In the meantime, forget about the issue.
OK, point well taken. As much as it bothers me in principle, you're probably right that it's not worth the time and aggravation...
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Old Jun 17, 19, 8:22 pm
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Originally Posted by victoras View Post
OK, point well taken. As much as it bothers me in principle, you're probably right that it's not worth the time and aggravation...
No "probably" about it.

UA doesn't care. Someone starts this exact thread (incorrect partner baggage allowance on e-receipt) about three times a week.
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