Typically when you’re booked on separate tickets you can still check your bags all the way through to your final destination by presenting your e-ticket receipt at check-in. Exact policies differ by airline — some airlines will let you check through bags from virtually all carriers, while others (like Southwest) won’t let you check through bags from any other carriers.
Per a memo sent to travel agents, United will be tightening up their policies for checked bags on separate tickets. Beginning on March 1, 2015, it will no longer be possible to check bags through from a United flight to a separate ticket on another airline, with a few exceptions.
Effective for travel on and after March 1, 2015, when a customer has two separate tickets, United will though-check bags only when the secondary ticket is for travel on the following carriers:
- United and United Express
- Star Alliance partner airlines
With the new policy, a passenger’s baggage will be checked between the origin and destination points that are reflected on a single or conjunctive ticket.
If the traveler holds a second ticket on another airline beyond the destination of the first ticket, United will check the bag to the destination on the first ticket(s). In such situations, the traveler must collect their baggage on arrival at their first ticketed destination, and then re-check baggage with the next carrier for their continuing flight(s).
If you have a single ticket number from origin to destination, this won’t be an issue. If you have two sets of tickets, United has broken down the scenarios:
There’s no doubt this is a disappointing change, and it’s kind of sad that United doesn’t see the value in making the travel process as seamless as possible for their passengers, even when part of their journey is outside the Star Alliance.
But here’s the most disappointing part — United partners with roughly a dozen airlines that aren’t Star Alliance members , though under these new rules you couldn’t check bags from a ticket on United to a separate ticket on one of their partner airlines that doesn’t belong to the Star Alliance.
I think it’s bad enough not to allow bags to be checked through from separate tickets to begin with, but to not even allow it for all of your partner airlines is kind of shocking.
Beyond that, Air Dolomiti, Edelweiss, and Germanwings are all Lufthansa Group airlines, and in some cases Air Dolomiti operates flights on behalf of Lufthansa, and Edelweiss on behalf of Swiss, so I’m not sure how that will work in practice.
For what it’s worth, American had planned to initiate a similar policy last month, though has since postponed until February.
(Tip of the hat to Chris)