Sunday, July 24th, 2016

Changes to QANTAS baggage handling risk to smooth travel

Qantas baggage rule changes in accordance with new Oneworld policy
Kim Culyer, Escape
July 18, 2016 1:53pm


Can I still through-check my bags to my final destination when I fly on Qantas?

DOC: The way Qantas interlines (through-checks) your baggage with other carriers is changing from September 1.

Before this change, Qantas would through-check baggage to your final destination if you were travelling on a Oneworld alliance member, regardless of whether you had two separate tickets or bookings.

From September 1, if your travel plans are not all on the one booking and one ticket, your baggage may not be checked right through to your final destination. This means you will need to claim your baggage at your transit points, clear customs and immigration, then queue and check in again.

This is due to a decision by Oneworld, whereby the 15 member airlines of the group are no longer required to guarantee this through-check process. Other airlines affected include British Airways, Cathay Pacific and American Airlines.
New luggage rules will apply to Qantas passengers from September 1. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty

These other members can still offer a through-check baggage service on separately booked tickets if they choose, but must guarantee it if your tickets are in the one PNR (booking).

If your flights are on a single ticket in the one PNR, or you are on Qantas flights all the way through, then the through-check process will continue as is.

There will be downsides to this new policy, and the first and possibly the most inconvenient issue I can foresee in this instance is delayed aircraft and missed connections.

There will be extra passengers in the snaking queues of immigration and customs, instead of making their way to airport lounges and transit areas.

There will be wait times for bags from the first carrier, passengers will then have to find the next check-in counter or even worse, change terminals. This, unfortunately, could lead to the traveller not being protected in the case of a misconnection or delayed flight.

Passengers will need to be vigilant and check visa requirements for the countries they are transiting. You will also need to check the minimum connection time for each airport you are passing through.

A travel agent will be well versed in these requirements and may also be able to add multiple sectors on multiple airlines into the same booking in some circumstances, resulting in the issue of one ticket.

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