American Relents on Checked Bags: Will Continue to Allow Through Checking on Separate Tickets Through February

About three weeks ago American adopted a new poliicy that they would no longer ‘through check’ bags onto another airline outside of oneworld if the other airline travel was on a separate ticket.

This came closer to aligning with US Airways (and Delta but not United).

They delayed implementation fo the policy until October 15.

Now they’ve pushed it off again — all the way until February.

I do not know why they’d do this. I’d have expected that if they were going to change the policy, they would change the policy, as-announced. I see three possibilities. I’d rank the likelihood of each explanation in the following order:

  1. The IT just wasn’t ready and the fix was pretty far back in the queue.
  2. They realized the lack of notice was going to be a problem.
  3. They’re open to changing the policy if there’s enough pushback.

I do like the typo in the announcement, though, the policy won’t apply for tickets issued before October 15, 2104, so maybe we really do have awhile before we have to worry about this!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. It appears they’ve also expanded who you can through check a bag to, including non-OW airline partners like AS.

  2. US Airways fail on this. Tried to through – check PHX to LAX to JFK. PHX to LAX was US, LAX to JFK was American. The desk supervisor Lori at PHX ticketing looked at me like I have 4 heads. Said it could never be done. Funny thing, JFK to LAX (American) THEN LAX to PHX (US – seperate tickets mind you) is done for me all the time when I check into JFK American business check in. The lady in PHX even told me she was going to “write up the American desk” at JFK. Good luck with that Lori. The American / US merger scares the crap out of me. I hope it isn’t Continental/United redeux. Everyone at United has picked up legacy United ahole “service”. I hope new American doesn’t pick up legacy AmWest/US ahole service as a result.

  3. I wonder if not giving more notice violates some obscure IATA rule…

    Hey, @Rico – give it a rest on the CO/UA stuff already. We all have our own experiences, (e.g., personally I have much better experiences with pmUA employees than pmCO employees), so years later, there’s no point in bringing it up. Every merger has good eggs and bad eggs on both sides.

  4. Hey – if your satisfied with mediocrity, carry on. I voted with my feet and wallet. Flew out of EWR last week to PHX on UA. 42 m
    minutes to check in at EWR….IN the first line since i had putchased 1st. Only kicking my self in the ass for not having picked AA from the get go 20 years ago. I will NEVER “let up” on their complete disregard for customers who stuck with CO during “worst to first” years and then gave those same customers a swift kick in the ass. Let me be clear – N E V E R.

  5. I hear what you’re saying, and if I weren’t a MM based out of SFO, I’d think about changing, too.

    That said, complaining about how bad the check-in processes are, when (a) you’re checking in at EWR, one of pre-merger CO’s largest hubs, (b) EWR is staffed pretty much exclusively by pre-merger CO employees, and (c) those employees are working on pre-merger CO systems, it makes no sense at all to blame pre-merger UA for it.

    In my (pretty extensive) experience flying UA, pre-merger UA service was much better in all respects than the current service. I rarely flew CO, so I can’t really comment on that, but I take your word for it that their service was much better pre-merger. For this cratering of service on both sides, you and I can each thank the current management of post-merger UA.

    I forget, which pre-merger carrier’s management dominates the post-merger management team?

    I’m sure you can remind me…

  6. I wish someone would realize how stupid this new policy would be. At the very least give us the option to pay for it before taking it away completely.

  7. @PainCorp I do not believe that’s the case

    @Nun – I agree with you but the DOT doesn’t, their rule says one fee per baggage check, they cannot legally charge more for this and if they do interline they have to split the fee.. in some way a perfectly predictable unintended consequence of the regulation

  8. Oh I know fully this is $mi$eks train wreck. That’s what happens I guess when a bean counter gets promoted to CEO. And $mi$ek was a CO bean counter. That said, moral at the start of “worst to first” was in the tank. Bethune righted that ship, turned moral around but he did so and still rewarded those customers that stuck with him. I’m 18,000 miles from mm on UA. What’s the point. As a 1k I rarely got upgrades given the revenue trumping model, the took the nice 737s out of phx and replaced w 20 year plus airbuses and the lack of inspirational leadership reflects on all employees at ua. THEY don’t even believe in what they are trying to do. Apart from lifetime gold, what good? Stopped by the president’s lounge at ewr last week…not a single seat to sit in. I’m surprised they haven’t started charging for seat usage yet.

    Since you are in SFO, have you taken the AA to jfk? When I don’t fly phx – lax – jfk I do the phx-sfo – jfk route on the new A321B. What a glorious product out of LAX AND SFO!

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