Can I check my bags all the way?

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by hulagrrl210, May 11, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    This is such a newbie question, I am kind of embarrassed to even ask this...but the situation has never occurred to me before.

    I am flying United from SMF to LAX then connecting to an international flight on a different carrier, different reservation. If I give them my other flight numbers, can I have United check my bags all the way through from Sacramento, or do I have to drag all my stuff down to Tom Bradley and re-check with the other airline?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Well, it depends on the carrier, but most likely UA can do that for you. Even if you've booked separate tickets, most major airlines have interline agreements.
     
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  3. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Most major (but not LCC) carriers have interline agreements, surely within the same alliance or among partners. You will need to show a hard copy of your reservation and ticket. To be sure, you can call call either airline to verify, A few carriers and agents might resist when it's two separate tickets.
     
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  4. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    One thing to be careful of is your baggage weight. Since airlines have different baggage weight limits your bag can be refused or charged by the receiving airline. Check these limits prior to travel.
     
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  5. thetravelloop
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    thetravelloop Silver Member

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    That's a good question. I didn't know you could do that!
     
  6. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    IATA, to which almost all major airlines belong, published a new interlining baggage automated system last year.
    http://www.iata.org/pressroom/pr/Pages/2010-06-08-01.aspx

    Normally you can check your bags from any IATA carrier to any other, nut if the travel is not on the same ticket the baggage rules, as Sobore points out, will apply individually, not for the entire trip. You need the record locator and itinerary, including class of service for each individual ticket for this to be done. It is simple and easy if you know what rules apply to each ticket, but difficult otherwise. In small stations, SMF qualifies, not all the agents know the rules.

    If you are not familiar with that process you can just tell me your dates of flight, class of service, airlines and flight numbers and I can check it for you. I am sure others here would do that also. Then you can carry the exact rules with you for checkin to avoid any problems. Remember than upon return to the US your bags can also be checked through, but you'll still be required to collect them at LAX, pass through Customs and drop them on the connecting baggage area for the SMF flight.
     
  7. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    The Airline is Air Tahiti Nui. We're traveling in coach next week. 3 hour+ layover in LAX, so it should be enough time for the bag transfer. My husband and I are both Premier Execs with United and as far as I know Air Tahiti Nui doesn't charge for bags, so it's not like we're trying to avoid any fees. We're also not looking to be anywhere near the weight limit for either airline. Thanks for the suggestion about keeping a copy of the other airlines rules. I will definitely do that! I figured it shouldn't be a problem, but then I've never done this, traveling on two separate tickets before.

    I'm not so worried about the return, as we have a 6 hour layover in LAX. Besides, does United even have a bag re-check area outside of Customs in Tom Bradley? How does that work? Every time I have flown UA internationally out of LAX, I've always cleared immigration in the basement of terminal 7.

    On a separate note, has anyone had problems with United transferring bags in time to other airlines at LAX? I've had problems at HNL before getting my bags over to inter-island when I had like 3 hours there. Obviously I'm taking a few essentials including a swimsuit in my carry on just in case.
     
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  8. gobluetwo
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    gobluetwo Silver Member

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    Interesting question. And although I'm not in this situation, here's a follow-up. Suppose you're elite with the airline/alliance on the first segment. If the next segment on a separate reservation is on an airline/alliance with which you do not have status, would baggage fees still apply, or does it default to the originating carrier's rules? In the OP's case, I don't think it would matter since I'm fairly certain most airlines will give you at least one free checked bag for international travel, but what if it's domestic?
     
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  9. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Given the carriers and your modest bags you should have no problems at all. here are the rules: http://www.airtahitinui-usa.com/traveldesk/baggage.asp note the slightly odd weight limit of 50 lb. So, no problems, since that's more than UA. I have personally never connected at LAX, so i don't know about the physical layout. I hope somebody else here does. The returning recheck should work whether they're in the same terminal or not.

    In this situation the OP is on two distinct tickets so the allowances will be whatever each individual carrier permits. There is zero status benefit from the first, or the second if you're connecting to one where you do have status. I have been in this situation several times, and the first checkin, where I had status, worked all the way despite the change of carrier. However, on the return it was zero status benefit even though I was connecting to my 'statusful' carrier. That is true whether you have the same ticket or separate ones. To baggage that makes no difference at all.
     
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  10. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    It goes by originating carriers rules. I've checked in with United before, connected to Hawaiian and not had to pay for bags, but when I checked in with Hawaiian and connected to United, even though it was a United ticket, I got charged by Hawaiian, but just the inter-island rate which is $10/bag. Flying in Hawaii turns out to be a very common example of where this happens. Just a heads up, if you do find yourself in that situation traveling inter-island, DO NOT CHECK IN WITH HAWAIIAN ONLINE. There is a glitch in the system and they will charge you the more expensive transpacific rate for the bags, not the inter-island rate.

    With two separate tickets? Air Tahiti Nui? I have no idea that is why I asked. :)
     
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  11. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    On the same ticket with legal connections originating carrier rules, true. If two separate tickets that does not apply technically, but usually you get the same treatment as long as you interline your bags.
     
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  12. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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  13. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    Somewhat related question...how do I check in with Air Tahiti Nui? I'm assuming I need to walk down there at LAX and see them before my bags just show up from United.
     
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  14. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    You check in just as if you'd not connected, but show them your baggage tags so they ensure they're entered in their system. The baggage tags sometimes are in, sometimes not, but you do ensure they're aware fo the connecting bags this way. On the return you just reverse the process.
     
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  15. BurBunny
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    BurBunny Silver Member

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    At Bradley, there's a multi-line bag recheck conveyor. As long as you're tagged through, you can drop there and walk down to Terminal 6. Why 6? Because that's where the Premier Exec check-in and Elite TSA screening is located. Show them your ATN bag tag numbers so you're entered in the system and you're good to go.

    With that long a layover, hopefully you are an RCC member. Remember, your 1P status won't get you RCC access on this itinerary since you're not flying a *A carrier.

    ATN is a nice line - and you'll absolutely love French Polynesia!
     
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  16. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    Thanks! I forgot about T6. It's been a few years since I lived there/checked in at LAX. Thanks for the info about Bradley. Last time I was in there was 1998. :eek:

    I'm not a RCC member, but I've posted in the meetup thread, looking for a sponsor, but we're actually just planning to go to In-n-out anyway.

    Interesting thing about RCC's for us 1P's/*G's traveling internationally. I got denied access to the one in EWR after coming in from an international CO flight. Turns out United policy is that you can only visit on the outbound. *A policy states however that you are welcome "in conjuction with" an international *A same day itinerary. Anyway, now I carry a copy of the *A policy and we complained. $400 in vouchers :)
     
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