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Announcement: USAirways Discontinues Interline Bag Check on Split Tickets

Announcement: USAirways Discontinues Interline Bag Check on Split Tickets

 
Old Jul 20, 12, 9:35 am
  #1  
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Exclamation Announcement: USAirways Discontinues Interline Bag Check on Split Tickets

as a travel agent, I get these announcements - this one is particularly important to the FT community, so here is the text below. Most of you won't be affected, but for those who put other airline segments on another ticket will have a problem. If you keep (for example) your HA segments on the US ticket, interline bag handling is still provided.

As a result of a new mandate by the Department of Transportation, US Airways has made the following change (effective 8/1/12) to the interline baggage check procedures:


Interline through baggage check discontinued

Effective July 24, the DOT has mandated new baggage rules requiring that airline passengers must pay the same published baggage fees[1] and have the same allowances for their entire itinerary. As a result of this new policy, effective August 1, 2012 US Airways will no longer be through checking passengers bags when they have been ticketed on separate tickets. For interline itineraries where the passenger has his/her entire journey on one ticket, we will continue our practice as it is done today, but when the tickets are split (e.g. ticket 1 US PHX-HNL // ticket 2 HA HNL-LIH) we will only check the bag to the destination on the US ticket.

A ticketing and baggage agreement is required to ticket interline itineraries on one PNR. Published minimum connect times are only valid for interline itineraries; minimum connect time cannot be precisely calculated when bags are not through checked.

[1] Carriers are not required to recognize exemptions to other carriers baggage policies such as free first or second bags due to frequent flyer status or loyalty credit card membership. The carriers published baggage fees or US Airways baggage fees must be charged, whichever is less.
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Old Jul 20, 12, 9:54 am
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
"Published minimum connect times are only valid for interline itineraries; minimum connect time cannot be precisely calculated when bags are not through checked."
This is not accurate as a blanket statement! For example, published MCT's for PVG (Shanghai) are calculated based on whether a passenger must retrieve bags due to the need to to pass through Chinese immigration before connecting to another flight.

The irony of this incorrect statement from US is that I know the situation at PVG because I have connected there three times using US miles for *A awards!
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Old Jul 20, 12, 2:22 pm
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Originally Posted by tommyleo View Post
This is not accurate as a blanket statement! For example, published MCT's for PVG (Shanghai) are calculated based on whether a passenger must retrieve bags due to the need to to pass through Chinese immigration before connecting to another flight.

The irony of this incorrect statement from US is that I know the situation at PVG because I have connected there three times using US miles for *A awards!
Even though you are picking up the bag (for customs) is this not still considered interlining and through checking? I know it seems odd that you would pick up your bag if its through checked, but I could definitely see how the airline would consider it to be interlined/through checked since the only reason the bag is returned is because of customs.

Never been to PVG, is the system there similar to the system for returning to the US and connecting?
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Old Jul 20, 12, 3:06 pm
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Originally Posted by treznor View Post
Even though you are picking up the bag (for customs) is this not still considered interlining and through checking? I know it seems odd that you would pick up your bag if its through checked, but I could definitely see how the airline would consider it to be interlined/through checked since the only reason the bag is returned is because of customs.

Never been to PVG, is the system there similar to the system for returning to the US and connecting?
I've never connected through the U.S. But in PVG, many (not all) airlines do not have interline agreements -- even within the same alliance. If that is the case with your flights, you must (1) go through immigration (be sure to show that you have an onward flight so that you don't get snagged for not having a visa!), (2) get your bags, (3) go through Customs, and (4) check-in for your new flight at the ticket counter -- as if you had left the airport.

The MCT's listen between specific airlines at PVG reflect this.
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Old Jul 20, 12, 5:20 pm
  #5  
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If this is mandated by the DOT, then wont this be imitated by other airlines? Has anyone heard the same thing from other airlines? What is the point of this ruling?
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Old Jul 20, 12, 5:45 pm
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Originally Posted by SkyTeam777 View Post
If this is mandated by the DOT, then wont this be imitated by other airlines? Has anyone heard the same thing from other airlines? What is the point of this ruling?
Read the announcement carefully - DOT is not saying they are blocking interline bag transfers between tickets, but that baggage fees/charges/allowances must be harmonized across an itinerary.

US has decided on its own to just stop interlining bags when a customer has more than one ticket on an itinerary - this is not a customer-friendly change, but is not mandated by DOT.
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Old Jul 21, 12, 12:54 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Read the announcement carefully - DOT is not saying they are blocking interline bag transfers between tickets, but that baggage fees/charges/allowances must be harmonized across an itinerary.

US has decided on its own to just stop interlining bags when a customer has more than one ticket on an itinerary - this is not a customer-friendly change, but is not mandated by DOT.
Just out of curiosity, does it cost money to interline bags with other carriers? If so, I can see a financial (still customer unfriendly) reason behind this.

LAX
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Old Jul 21, 12, 10:12 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by LAX View Post
Just out of curiosity, does it cost money to interline bags with other carriers? If so, I can see a financial (still customer unfriendly) reason behind this.

LAX
If there is an interline agreement in place, there is no specific cost that should be attached to each interline event...I am interpreting the rule to mean the lowest bag cost on the itinerary is the one to be charged....

therefore:
ticket 1 on US - $75 bag fees
ticket 2 on carrier x - $25 bag fees

US would lose the 75 in fees as only the 25 can be collected per the DOT rule - therefore US doesn't want to collect a lower amount and just refuses to push the bags to the other carrier. On a single ticket itinerary, they don't have a choice.

That's my interpretation of the rule and US' response, but I could be way off. I'll be researching the rule further as there are some TA impacts.
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Old Jul 21, 12, 12:37 pm
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Does anyone know if AC is doing the same thing? I have an itinerary coming up in two weeks that is the exact opposite scenario (three separate tickets, AC to AC to US).
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Old Jul 22, 12, 1:03 am
  #10  
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
If there is an interline agreement in place, there is no specific cost that should be attached to each interline event...I am interpreting the rule to mean the lowest bag cost on the itinerary is the one to be charged....

therefore:
ticket 1 on US - $75 bag fees
ticket 2 on carrier x - $25 bag fees

US would lose the 75 in fees as only the 25 can be collected per the DOT rule - therefore US doesn't want to collect a lower amount and just refuses to push the bags to the other carrier. On a single ticket itinerary, they don't have a choice.

That's my interpretation of the rule and US' response, but I could be way off. I'll be researching the rule further as there are some TA impacts.
That's a pretty interesting mandate/regulation.

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Old Jul 22, 12, 9:57 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Read the announcement carefully - DOT is not saying they are blocking interline bag transfers between tickets, but that baggage fees/charges/allowances must be harmonized across an itinerary.

US has decided on its own to just stop interlining bags when a customer has more than one ticket on an itinerary - this is not a customer-friendly change, but is not mandated by DOT.
But why is fee harmonization across an entire itinerary any business of the DOT? This should be based on the passenger's elite status/benefits and class of service purchased with the first airline of travel.

How is one airline supposed to know another airline's fee policy to harmonize with them?
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Old Jul 22, 12, 11:54 am
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Originally Posted by SkyTeam777 View Post
But why is fee harmonization across an entire itinerary any business of the DOT? This should be based on the passenger's elite status/benefits and class of service purchased with the first airline of travel.

How is one airline supposed to know another airline's fee policy to harmonize with them?
This is a good pro-consumer rule on the part of DOT - instead of possibly being hit with multiple bag fees across an itinerary, you now pay one fee only (the lowest) and get one allowance (the highest) and it's in the rules instead of just being a common practice for some carriers.

As with any good pro-consumer rule, US found a partial loophole and extended its middle finger to customers.

I'm not the message, only the messenger - and per my original post, this is only likely to impact a small number of customers who have multiple tickets on one itinerary. I do know, however, that some corporate agencies like Carlson Wagonlit will issue multiple tickets on an itinerary for one-way or multi-destination itineraries that span more than one airline instead of issuing a single ticket on the first carrier's plate. I believe they do this to gouge customers out of extra booking fees....now those customers will have checked-bag issues en route when flying US+another carrier.
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Old Aug 1, 12, 9:08 pm
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Exclamation Update

Well as you can imagine, news of this "change" spread like wildfire, and the hue and cry from customers and agents alike was not too pleasant. I'm sure given US' history, no one here will be surprised by US screwing its customers then backpedaling when the flaming arrows start flying.

So, the official backpedal is thus: US will interline bags on multiple/split tickets provided the journey is captured in one PNR generated by a single agency GDS system. If the journey is split across multiple PNRs, they will not interline baggage.

I guess you can call it a partial backpedal, but the change should cover the vast majority of multi-ticket passengers.
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Old Aug 2, 12, 10:04 am
  #14  
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
I guess you can call it a partial backpedal, but the change should cover the vast majority of multi-ticket passengers.
And is just complicated enough that most agents won't be able to (or care to) discern the difference, which should cover the majority of that minority.
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Old Aug 14, 12, 8:36 am
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Announcement: USAirways Discontinues Interline Bag Check on Split Tickets

I was just hit with this policy at BNA. Flying BNA- CLT-EWR (US) and EWR-DEL (UA).

US airways counter agents at BNA refused to check bag to DEL, even after talking to a supervisor. He showed me the memo from corporate dated August 7, talking about no exceptions, except trivial like US to US tickets.

I bought ticket in early July, so I was not aware of this policy, otherwise I wouldn't have picked US.

Now, my flight to EWR is delayed, so I hope I actually have time to claim bag at EWR and run to the gate. Arghh.
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