Effective January 15, Delta will no longer interline baggage when traveling on separate tickets.
Effective for travel on or after January 15, 2013, Delta Air Lines policy will be to check a passenger’s baggage between the origin and destination points that are indicated on a single or conjuncted ticket exclusively. If a second ticket is presented for travel on another airline beyond the destination of the first ticket, the passenger will be advised that Delta will only check the bag to the destination on the first ticket(s). The passenger must collect the baggage at baggage claim for their first ticketed destination, and then re-check their baggage with the down-line carrier for the next flight.
Rather surreal is the claim,
This clarification of policy helps Delta ensure that checked baggage service is consistent for all customers.
US Airways adopted a similar policy a few months ago although they didn’t claim it was to ensure ‘consistency’. They simply attributed it to new Department of Transportation rules that restrict baggage fees in these circumstances.
For customers, this is a huge inconvenience.
Say you use Delta miles to fly Korean Air to Seoul and then on to Sydney. But you can’t get award space on the Delta flight to connect to your international itinerary. Delta will no longer through-check your bags onto Korean. They will check them only to your Delta destination, you have to go to baggage claim, pick them up, and check them back in with Korean.
And it’s hardly your fault you’re on separate tickets, it’s just because Delta wasn’t offering any award inventory.
In fact, say you were flying out of Atlanta and connecting to Korean from Chicago. Delta won’t through-check your bags if you decide to buy the domestic segment from them. Buy the domestic fight on United, and you’ll be able to interline your bag — even though Korean is a Skyteam partner of Delta’s, and not of United’s.
It’s increasingly the case, as flights are full, that you need to buy a short domestic segment when booking an award ticket rather than finding every segment you want available. It’s usually worth doing so — you get business class long-haul for your miles and may have to come out of pocket a couple hundred bucks, but far less than the cost of a paid coach ticket, while flying in a forward cabin.
Truly obnoxious, Delta.