Interlining bags from BA to non-oneworld airline

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  • Anonymous


    Well, here I am in the BA F lounge at LHR T3 feeling, frankly, a bit narked. I am on BA9 to BKK, whence I want to connect to a TG flight to HK. These are on separate tickets. Perhaps you will all think that I set myself up for a fall, but I was thoroughly dismayed when I checked in that BA have refused to check my bags through onto my connecting flight. The reason given is part of why I am annoyed – they maintained that they didn’t have an agreement with Thai to transfer bags. Now, I happen to know that this is untrue, partly because a quick google search (while I was at the desk) revealed that BA is listed on TG’s website as an airline with which is has an interline agreement, but also because on my way here I was able to check my bags through from HKG-BKK-LHR on TG and BA – on exactly the same tickets! I even showed them the baggage receipts for my inbound flight to prove that what they were saying was wrong, but they still refused to check me through

    Am I being unreasonable for even asking, or am I right to feel aggrieved because BA refuse to do the same as TG (or, more pertinently, because they lied about their reason for doing so)?

    Still a couple of hours before my flight so if anyone has any helpful advice as to how I can persuade them to check my bags through within that period (long shot, I know, but I also know how BTers can rally to the cause!) it would be most welcome

    Oh, and they gave me the wrong seat assignment, too, without pointing it out or notifying me, and only changed it to my pre-allocated seat (with very poor grace) after I showed them a printout of my booking confirmation with the seat I had chosen. Not covering themselves in glory, at check-in, although they did give me a spa appointment – although even that took a phone call to ensure that my business class long-haul ticket combined with oneworld emerald were enough for them to deign that I was eligible!


    A flying visit Ian? Didn’t you only arrive this morning?


    Ian : There are many different types of interline agreement. I haven’t seen what you’ve seen on the website so you may be right, but in general terms an interline agreement refers to mutual (or sometimes unilateral) acceptance of tickets and other documents.

    It would need to specifically say baggage interlining in order to validate your contention.

    I would be surprised if they would interline your bags if you are on two separate tickets. I know this is not what you want to hear but they are probably correct in refusing to do so – and I’m not trying to defend BA here, I am no fan of theirs.


    Hi IFH

    Unfortunately BA are under no obligation to through check your bags onto Thai – even if it was with another one world carrier they wouldn’t have to do it (or even another BA flight) if issued as separate tickets. It is possibly much cheaper to have issued them separately but you lose out on the “protected” connection and the through checking of baggage ability (unless the airline decide to do it anyway as they do often do).

    Likewise the airline can always change seat assignments without notifying you for a whole host of reasons – often because a plane has been changed. I agree it would be better if they at least had the grace to tell you – but they often happen at the very last minute. It is a pain when I have organised clients on 2 separate flight reservations and organised seats together, only for people to be moved. If you complain you may get a response along the lines of the following – which my client got

    “Unfortunately, there are occasions when we are required to make seat changes. This can be due to many reasons including a change of aircraft configuration, to accommodate a medical passenger or to sit a family group together. As such, we do not give 100% guarantee that all seating requests can be met and we do state this in our conditions of carriage.”

    Probably not what you want to hear – though no doubt what you have epxerienced is not uncommon or frustrating.

    Have a good trip back.


    Hi Bucksnet – actually yesterday morning, but yes definitely a flying visit!

    capetonianm – I hadn’t really focused on types of interlining agreement, but the page I looked at was definitely about baggage.

    TimF, I entirely understand they are entitled to refuse -believe me, if I had believed otherwise I would have made much more of a fuss. I am still disappointed, however, that they refused to do so when TG – earning a much smaller fare I might add – were prepared to do it in the other direction on the same tickets. That disappointment became annoyance when they lied to me (I believe) about the absence of an interline agreement. As to the seat allocation, I did complain, and they changed it back – which rather implies that it was not changed for a good reason


    There seems to be no hard and fast rule. Sometimes when I travel from Air Malta to BA or vice versa I can check luggage all the way through and other times not. It seems to be down to the staff on duty at the time. With BA in vancouver earlier this year, I was able to appeal to their good nature, as had a seven hour layover at LHR and certainly did not want to collect and then carry all the Brown baggage from T5 to T4. The silly thing is that with the exception of the budget carriers, most if not all airline systems can technically allow transfer of baggage onto different connecting carriers.

    I am surprised that no-one as yet has come up with a fee to from non code share/alliance baggage transfer. There would be many passengers who would be prepared to pay for this I suspect.

    The alternative, as mentioned is to book all flights on the same ticket.



    As you were travelling on two PNRs, the BA staff were correct in their actions. To print the baggage tag and for security reasons for both sectors the BA computer must have linked bookings through one PNR or possibly two PNRs that the BA computer can recognise. You can actually contact the Exec Club prior to travel and if possible they will do their best to link the two PNRs to avoid the situation you found yourself in.

    In the old days, with two paper tickets, you could invariably check in and have your bags tagged all the way through. Where there was an interlink agreement you could also be issued with your boarding cards. But, things have changed markedly.


    This is all about money pure and rather simple. If the bags had been through checked and then do not arrive in the final destination then the originating carrier is responsible in full or in part. When not on one world connection or on same ticket then BA or any other carrier for that matter need not thru check bags.

    As an aside there is no need for PNR details as the entry to produce the bag tag with onward details is a simple entry that any checkin agent can enter. the bags will then be loaded in specific transfer containers for ease of handling at the midpoint.

    They don’t do this as BA, in the event of a short shipment, can trace the bag back to the agent and if the bag should not have been thru checked then they can take action. Not sure of they do or have done, but the fact is they can.

    Fear is a strong motivational factor in any business.

    It has absolutely nothing to do with security as AAA reconciliation should ensure that bags are only loaded on a flight when the passenger is checked in and boarded. If they fail to board the bags should be removed.

    Hiding behind security is much the same as hiding behind health and safety. It sounds plausible but is often entirely spurious.


    pdtraveller is absolutely correct – it is all about money and responsibility.

    BA, in this instance, would technically be responsible for the baggage. On one ticket, they cannot decline to ck the bags, and as part of an alliance they tend to take them as well (even if on two tkts). But had Ian turned up in HKG with no bags, it would be BA holding the responsibility and cost for finding the luggage.

    As Ian discovered, some carriers are willing to take the risk, like TG. Others, like BA and others, will not.


    Colleague of mine has the same a few months ago with BA. he went BA to BKK and was then going onto CX to HKG. it saved him £1000 on the BA direct cost.

    BA also refused to check through claiming that CX system was not compatible with BA’s as he had made 2 separate bookings, He is BA gold as well so would have thought they might have made an effort.


    I was just about to ask, what is everyone’s experience in terms of getting luggage through checked when connecting from a OneWorld to another OneWorld airline but on two separate tickets? stevescoots has already mentioned an issue above.

    My only experience was connecting from CX to BA on the same ticket, and accidentally found out when we arrived in Hong Kong that they needed to scan in our luggage tags, in order to make sure our luggage got loaded onto the BA flight. We already had boarding passes for the onward flight, but thought we’d drop in at the connections desk just to check that things were in order, and that’s where we found out. Could that have meant that our luggage would not have made it to London, I wonder?!


    There certainly does appear to be a fair amount of discretion here but I would certainly never EXPECT baggage to interline if travelling on two seperate tickets – sure, ask about it but don’t expect it to happen. It did work out for me recently when I checked in with Bangkok Airways in Phnom Penh and they checked my bag through to the UK with BA, even though this was not a code share flight (some are) and I had two tickets. On the outbound, I had not been able to check my bag through with BA – as it happens, a tight connection in LHR meant my luggage did not arrive in BKK but BA there did send it on to Phnom Penh the next day.

    However, last week, I was travelling GLA-LHR-SIN-KUL with BA and MH and we could not even get a through ticket at a sensible price, let along interline baggage, even though this itinerary was all oneworld.

    In the old says, bmi rarely interlined from UK regions on to fellow Star airlines (GLA-LHR-BKK with TG, for example) because, it was explained to me, it was too costly for them to do so.


    I recently got bags checked at Syracuse NY by US Air via Boston and collected them at LHR after a Virgin Atlantic crossing. They were on two separate bookings as well. US only list Virgin as “Other airline Partner” on their website. Was this a one off, just being helpful or what would normally happen?


    Stevescoots, I wonder if your colleague’s experience was before CX switched to Amadeus a while back? There might have been compatibility issues before, but there can’t be now…

    In any case, I do recognise I wasn’t *entitled* to through-check-in. However, I do (rightly or not) feel very disappointed that while I was able to through-check from TG to BA on my way to London despite TG only operating the short-haul leg and with me having no status with TG or Star Alliance, I was not able to through-check from BA to TG in the opposite direction despite being top-tier with oneworld.

    Fortunately I have a lengthy layover on BKK so the whole immigration/baggage-reclaim/customs/transfer-to-departures/check-in/security/immigration thing worked out fine this way round. I would have been in dire trouble on the outbound sector.

    Heigh-ho. I know I did set myself up for a fall, but after many years of travelling and many through-checked bags on many airline combinations, this is genuinely the first time I have had a problem. We live and learn – and the lesson is, don’t trust BA to through-check bags, or to put it another way, don’t buy BA tickets where this might be an issue. A short-termist cost-saving measure which may cost BA more in the long run, I suspect – I rather think that the profit they can earn on a long-haul business class ticket would more than offset the insurance premium for losing a bag en-route, but that is BA’s choice. While my choice will be not to do this routing combination on BA again…

    After all the brickbats, though – a bouquet. If you are reading this, many thanks to you my cabin crew on the LHR-BKK flight, who were attentive and proactive throughout. You’re a credit to the airline

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