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Changing Carriers Mid-Itin - What happens to checked bags?

Changing Carriers Mid-Itin - What happens to checked bags?

 
Old Jul 9, 09, 4:10 am
  #1  
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Changing Carriers Mid-Itin - What happens to checked bags?

Our niece arrived this morning, tearful, with no bags. She flew F9 from ABQ-DEN, then UAL DEN-IAD-FRA. She was told her bags would be checked through to UAL, but I found this questionable, because her claim stubs would still be F9 and not linked with UAL. Has anyone had any experience with this? Where should we start trying to track down these bags F9? UAL?

** I did a search for this and was only able to find a post about JetBlue to UAL, but nothing about Frontier.
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Old Jul 9, 09, 4:40 am
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Originally Posted by supacoo View Post
Our niece arrived this morning, tearful, with no bags. She flew F9 from ABQ-DEN, then UAL DEN-IAD-FRA. She was told her bags would be checked through to UAL, but I found this questionable, because her claim stubs would still be F9 and not linked with UAL. Has anyone had any experience with this? Where should we start trying to track down these bags F9? UAL?
If the bags were only checked through to DEN and not to FRA F9 has no responsibility to get the bags to FRA. If for some reason the bags were checked through to FRA you must file a claim with the UA @ FRA.
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Old Jul 9, 09, 4:44 am
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She says Frontier told her they would move them to United. I didn't know if this was a standard practice between carriers (non *A).
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Old Jul 9, 09, 4:57 am
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What was printed on her claim tickets?
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Old Jul 9, 09, 5:24 am
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The baggage claim stubs will either say ABQ DEN only or ABQ DEN IAD FRA.
Either way since the last flight of your niece was on UA the claim needs to
be filed with them. Lufthansa is the handling agent for United at Frankfurt.
So if a bag is missing or damaged a report needs to be filed with the LH
counter in the baggage reclaim area at the airport. I am not sure if this can
be done over the phone.


.
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Old Jul 9, 09, 5:59 am
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Basically the last airline that was SUPPOSED to handle the bags is always the one you file the claim with (makes it easier since Frontier does not have a baggage office in Frankfurt )
As mentioned, her tags should indicate the final destination as well as the flights they were scheduled to take. If it says DEN, you're kinda hosed, if it says FRA, then UA should help in finding them. It is in fact quite standard for airlines to transfer bags between themselves, even outside of Star alliance. The exceptions come with low-cost carriers and some unpleasant British airlines like bmi who refuse to do it when on separate tickets, but for an itinerary like this one if your niece showed the counter agent the information for her flights all the way to Frankfurt, no issue for the agent to tag the bags (basically they just "build" the tag with the correct flights if it's not on the same itinerary).

As a general rule, when you check in with the new airline on your itinerary, it's not a bad idea to show the tags to the agent and ask her to check on them. Internationally where interline itineraries are common, this is quite standard and the agents will often ask you proactively. I shudder to think what a UA gate agent's reaction in Denver might be, however!
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Old Jul 9, 09, 7:36 am
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Thank you all for the helpful - and relieving - responses. Her claims do indeed say ABQ on F9, IAD on UA and FRA on UA, so in THEORY they should have made it. I was afraid they'd be stuck in Denver.

Now I'll try calling UA while she sleeps and seeing what we can hunt down...
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Old Jul 9, 09, 8:53 am
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I'd try calling UA, and asking not just about whether they recieved the bags, but which flights they were boarded onto and the path they took. UA has a really good system to do this. Most airlines don't scan bags onto each aircraft, and so they can't tell you which plane it actually went on, and when (or at least, that info. isn't available publicly). UA though has a pretty robust system, and if you spcifically call the UA baggage number and ask them, they can tell you what time the bags were delivered from F9, which flights they got on and the times, etc. That might help you to at least no where they are, and that they are on there way.

And yes, it is common to "interline" bags. In fact, my girlfriend this week successfully had her bags interlined on seperate tickets from YYZ to JFK on DL, and then onto MAA on Jet Airways. While the bags in your case could have had a comlication during the transfer, it is also possible UA lost them all on their own.

I once flew UA ORD-YYZ, and then onward to CDG on AC. Bags got lost. I called UA, and they could tell me exactly what time my bags boarded at ORD, and when they got handed over to AC at YYZ, etc. Then, since AC had them, they didnt know. Turns out AC didn't board them, and I recieved them ~24 hours later on the next flight.
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Old Jul 9, 09, 10:27 am
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When you call, don't forget to ask about their reimbursement policy for "interim purchases."

Some stations offer a set daily allowance that you can collect when you check in for your return flight. Others have you file a written reimbursement request.

My wife's bags were delayed during a US>UA transfer in ORD on our trip from HNL-AMS. The bags showed up two days later. We were in slippers and shorts, freezing, and the baggage service counter at AMS told us to buy what we needed. She took advantage of this (got new PUMAs) and her mini-shopping spree (about 300 Euros) was reimbursed fully.
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Old Jul 9, 09, 1:55 pm
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First of all get a lost baggage claim number. This needs to be done at the airport - if she hasn't done it then 24hrs from arrival.

Without that - the airlines can say you picked up your bags and they are no longer their repsonsibility
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Old Jul 9, 09, 2:12 pm
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When interlining between carriers it is always good to give your claim numbers to the new airline before you board the flight.

UA can even check if they actually scan the bag before you board. I usually this before boarding, before they get all busy.
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Old Jul 9, 09, 2:15 pm
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I've had two cases where I not only switched airlines but entered a country and the new airline took my bags through customs for me. I found that strange and in both cases I waited for my bags forever at the customs check before someone convinced me that they would be transfered to my new flight automatically.
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Old Jul 15, 09, 11:32 am
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To the OP. Just out of curiosity ,did the bags of your niece show up eventually ?
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Old Jul 15, 09, 11:45 am
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Originally Posted by supacoo View Post
Our niece arrived this morning, tearful, with no bags.
Ouch, suck! I hope it gets sorted out soon. If there were two itins or if she had to check in at DEN for UA/LH, then my bet would be that her bags are hanging out in DEN and that she needed to collect them before continuing on. The agent could have said, "Oh, they're checked all the way through...", but only thought that she was going to DEN.

Otherwise, they should have arrived with UA so long as this was a single itinerary and she was checked in all the way through. That sucks, but they should clear it up, I hope.
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Old Jul 15, 09, 1:47 pm
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this sounds just like what happened on a flight i had to brazil. IAD-GRU on UA and then GRU-GIG on TAM (i booked this before the IAD-GRU-GIG flight existed and it was considerably cheaper to use TAM for the short flight). agent in IAD tells me the bags are checked all the way through to GIG, says GIG on the stub, but no bags in GIG. takes 2 days of frustrating calls with TAM and UA, the delivery of the wrong set of bags, and finally the GS line to get everything sorted out.
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