IATA rolls out new baggage policies for interline journeys

1 Apr 2011

From April 1, IATA's member carriers will adopt a new baggage allowances and charges policy for interline journeys proposed by the international body.

The new Baggage Rule Resolution 302, intended to standardise baggage policies for passengers flying multiple carriers, outlines that if the baggage provisions of the different carriers are not the same, the policies of the Most Significant Carrier (MSC) will apply. The MSC is defined as the first carrier crossing IATA Areas or Sub-areas.

IATA dissects the world into three areas: Area 1 covers the Americas, Area 2 covers Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Area 3 covers Asia-Pacific. These are subdivided into Sub-areas. Area 1 is divided into USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean Islands, Central America and South Americas. Area 2 is divided into Europe, Middle East and Africa. Area 3 is divided into Japan and Korea, Southeast Asia, India and Southeast Pacific (Australasia).

The MSC would be the first carrier flying the longest leg either between the three areas or the sub-areas. For travel within sub-areas, the policies of the carrier on the first international sector would apply. For example, flying from Beijing to Singapore via Hong Kong - all within a single sub-area - on Dragonair and Singapore Airlines, Dragonair would be the MSC as it would be the first to cross an international border.

For travel from Sydney to London via Hong Kong, for example, using both Qantas and Cathay Pacific, CX is the MSC since it is the carrier crossing between Area 3 and Area 2 (the longest leg).

For flights between Busan and Singapore via Hong Kong using Dragonair and Singapore Airlines, Dragonair is the MSC as it crosses from one Sub-area to another.

If the entire journey is with one carrier, then these policies do not apply.

IATA stated that this move was necessary because "more and more airlines were defining their own baggage allowances and charges depending on the number of bags checked, class of travel, frequent flyer status and routing. This created confusion for passengers." The organisation also acknowledged that the new policy will "affect only a small proportion of travellers." 

For more information on baggage policies, contact the relevant carriers. For more information on the IATA resolution, visit

Alisha Haridasani

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