American Baggage Policy For Separate Tickets Changing

Filed Under: American, US Airways

Typically when you’re booked on separate tickets you can still check your bags all the way through to your final destination by presenting your e-ticket receipt at check-in. Exact policies differ by airline — some airlines will let you check through bags from virtually all carriers, while others (like Southwest) won’t let you check through bags from any other carriers.

It seems like the “new” American will be tightening up their policy for checked bags on separate tickets. As of October 1, 2014, it will no longer be possible to check bags through from an American flight to a separate ticket on another airline, with a few exceptions.


Via JonNYC at TravelingBetter:

Effective October 1, 2014, AA will no longer through check bags when the passenger presents separate tickets at the ticket counter except as noted below.

…Customers traveling on separate tickets will only be able to through check bags when the ticket is for travel on:

  • American Airlines and American Eagle
  • US Airways and US Express
  • oneworld partner airline

For all other carriers ticketed separately, bag will only be checked for the AA, US or oneworld partner flight. The customer will need to recheck their bags with the other carrier for the continuing travel.

There’s no doubt this is a disappointing change, and it’s kind of sad that American doesn’t see the value in making the travel process as seamless as possible for their passengers, even when part of their journey is on a non-oneworld airline.

But here’s the most disappointing part — American partners with Air Tahiti Nui, Alaska, Etihad, etc., though under these new rules you couldn’t check bags from a ticket on American to a separate ticket on one of their partner airlines that doesn’t belong to oneworld. I think it’s bad enough not to allow bags to be checked through from separate tickets to begin with, but to not even allow it for all of your partner airlines is kind of shocking.

  1. This is probably an oversight that they’ll backtrack on >>> “American partners with Air Tahiti Nui, Alaska, Etihad, etc., though under these new rules you couldn’t check bags from a ticket on American to a separate ticket on one of their partner airlines that doesn’t belong to oneworld”

  2. I had no idea AA will check your bag onto an unaffiliated, competitor airline on a separate ticket. I’ve been refused a through-check even within the same alliance, and on the same ticket. Plus, how often does this come up? If you’re connecting from AA to EY then you’ve likely booked it on a single PNR (if you didn’t, you’re probably overpaying departure taxes.) This seems like an insanely generous policy being rendered somewhat logical. I don’t get it.

  3. I will be flying Japan airlines from NRT to TPE, then on a separate ticket from TPE to SFO on EVA air. Is it possible to have my bags checked through to my final destination at SFO? I am a bit concerned since my total layover at TPE (assume no delay) is only 1 hour and 50 mins. I posted this a while back on flyertalk but received conflicting responses.

  4. I leave DUB for BOS on Aer Lingus in a few days and have less than 2 hour connection on UA BOS-DEN. Do you know if it is possible to check my bag through to DEN from DUB? Thanks.

  5. Kijo- no chance
    whenever you connect from non-usa city (except for those with tsa pre clearance), you have to re-check luggage, which is typically done immediately after retrieving it at the baggage carousel separately from the normal check in counters

  6. @ Josh — Which airline refused this to you within the same alliance? And it happens more than you’d expect, at least for me. For example, I’ve often redeemed British Airways Avios for travel on American to a gateway city, and then have a separate award from there.

  7. @ Raymond — Yes, you should be able to as they have an interline agreement. Otherwise no way you’ll make that connection with a checked bag.

  8. @ Kijo — Yes, you should be able to. There’s a pre-clearance facility in Dublin, so you should be able to check your bags to your final destination.

  9. Is HA OW airline? I was in HI earlier this month and most flights to mainland go via HNL (using HAs inter-island). I can see this being a major PITA if AA doesn’t allow it.

  10. Ben, what if its not on one record locator? But just a connection within a few hours… if doing something like BOM-AUH-LAX // LAX-SFO?

  11. @ Lucky – It was CX to AA, believe it or not. Worst thing was, the Cathay check-in agent at BKK mistakenly checked the bag through, not realizing there was no interline baggage service at PVG (this was 2010 — dunno if this has changed.) I didn’t find out there was a problem till I got to the Cathay lounge at PVG and the agents looked at my luggage sticker stub in horror. I didn’t even have a Chinese visa. A blessedly assertive Chinese ground staff lady barged me through customs, seized my bag from the carousel and sprinted with me to the check-in desk. The baggage cut-off time had lapsed, but the agent relented. We barged back through security and I narrowly made the flight.

    On another occasion, flying from Cork to JFK via LHR, Aer Lingus wouldn’t interline my bag onto BA, even though the EI flight was a BA codeshare full of connecting pax. Not technically part of an alliance. But, this has been a consistent enough problem that I’ve come to assume it’s the status quo.

  12. @ Apu — Your question is kind of academic, because all baggage needs to be picked up at your first US arrival city, regardless of whether it has technically been “checked through” or not. Customs and immigration needs to process you and everything you’re bringing into the country. After you’ve been admitted to the US at LAX (in your example), you go to a re-check-in area where you drop off your bag again. Whether your bag is checked-through or not, you still need to wait for it and pick it up off the carousel yourself.

  13. @ Apu — That’s the whole point of this post — they’ll no longer let you check bags through on a separate record except for oneworld carriers.

  14. Not directly related to this post, but if I’m arriving LAX from PVG (or somewhere else in Asia), 5 hour layover then to JFK, will my bag make it all the way to JFK? Was hoping to use the 5 hours to go into town, rather than wait for a bag, line up to have it checked again, etc…

  15. @ James — You have to clear customs and pick up your bag, as it’s your first point of entry. Outside of the customs hall you’ll be able to check it again.

  16. We have an IST to GVA award ticket on Turkish (with USAir miles), and separate purchased tickets GVA to LIS on TAP. The connection is 1.5 hours. Since both airlines are Star Alliance, will be able to checkin our bags directly to LIS?

  17. Josh & Ben, my question is not academic, its real. I have tickets like that… BOM-AUH-LAX on AA award ticket and a separate revenue ticket on AA from LAX to SFO connecting within a few hours of landing in LAX. Ben clarifies that I do not pick bags again at LAX due to pre-clearance, fine.

    However, Etihad is OW carrier – so I am confused that Ben says I cannot through check in for my above itinerary…what am I missing? As I understand – Etihad and AA are both OW carriers so even though I have separate record locators – one carrier should let me through check in on the other carrier, correct? Isn’t that what Ben meant?

  18. AA doesn’t realize this will cost them revenue. I often fly DFW-FRA on AA and then connect to LH for travel to the Middle East. Now I will fly LH from DFW as I do not have time to collect and recheck bags.

  19. @Lucky what if I am travelling on BOM-LHR on Jet airways and then LHR-MIA on British Airways using AA awards… Do I still need to recheck the begs at LHR?

  20. @lucky I just recently purchased a ticket on (website of American airlines) for Las Vegas to Abu Dhabi. There is a connection at LAX for 2.5 hours. The itinerary mentions that the flight from LAX to Abu Dhabi is a flight operated by Etihad airways despite showing the aa symbol next to the fight number. I wanted to know if my baggage will be checked in to the final destination i.e Abu Dhabi from Las Vegas since I am purchasing the ticket directy from American airlines ?

  21. Ben (or others with experience) – are you aware of Eva Air’s policy of through-checking bags ex-USA? I’ll be flying Eva Air LAX-TPE, and then connecting on a separate ticket on Malaysia (MH) TPE-BKI. MH and BR have an interline agreement but my layover will be just over 2 hours, so I am a bit worried if Eva will not check the bags through for the TPE connection on separate tickets. If it matters, we will be flying Eva in Y but I am *Gold, so I will be at the *G check-in at TBIT. Thanks.

  22. I’m hoping you can help me. I have a separate award tickets for ORD to BRU on American Airlines and BRU to NCE on Brussels Airline. I am wondering if I am able to check in my baggages through and pick them up in NICE, France. Do American Airlines and Brussels Airline have an interline baggage agreement? My layover in Brussels is 4 hours. Thanks for your help.

  23. This has made things very complicated and inconvenient for the traveler.
    I have three flights US -> US -> Abu Dhabi -> Final destination. While all three flights are booked with the same reservation code, the last flight to final destination is on different ticket. Calling American Airlines is useless, I have talked to 3 different reps and all have said different things; one said sure luggage can be checked in till end just have to tell the counter while checking in, the second for whatever reason became rude and said we cannot locate the third leg so NO, I cannot help you, call your booking agent and the thirds said maybe, I can request for it but generally they don’t do it. I have to collect my bags and check-in again at Abu Dhabi.

    Looks like even after two years, this policy confuses the AA reps also.

  24. What about interlining bags from another airline on to AA?

    Reason I ask is I have a flight on TK to New York coming up connecting to AA in JFK. Would be great to through-check the bag to my final destination. I can’t seem to find any info on if Turkish Interlines with AA.

  25. Hi I have an upcoming travel to Dubai via Emirates but from my city am going to take American Airlines to Chicago…I wonder if I can through check my baggage, back and forth? thanks

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