Oneworld introduces changes to checked baggage

Travel News 10 Jun 2016

Oneworld airlines are no longer required to check passengers and their luggage through to their final destination on connecting flights. The new scheme which came into effect quietly from 1 June, impacts passengers whose journey involves flights on more than one airline where their travel encompasses separate bookings.

If a passenger has a booking with all flights listed under a single booking, then there will be no change and OneWorld alliance airlines will continue to offer through check-in to the passengers final destination and issue boarding passes for all connecting flights.

What the Oneworld changes mean for you

The best way to explain what the new rules mean to travellers is by way of example.

So let's assume you've booked a Hong Kong-London flight with Cathay Pacific, and also made a second booking with British Airways to hop onto one of BA's London-Paris flights on the same day.

As both Cathay Pacific and British Airways are Oneworld members, Cathay Pacific was required to tag your baggage from Hong Kong all the way through to Paris and ideally issue your London-Paris boarding pass when you checked in for the initial Cathay Pacific flight at Hong Kong.

All of that becomes optional under the revised system.

Following the example above, instead of stepping off your Cathay pacific flight to London and heading to the airport lounge, or the departure gate of your flight from London-Paris, you could be required to clear immigration, wait for the bags to arrive from your Cathay flight and take them through customs.

You would then go to the British Airways counter, line up to check in your bags and collect your London-Paris boarding pass, go back through passport control and then relax in the lounge – if you still have time.

FCM's advice on how to avoid rushing to meet connections

The revised rules don't apply to travellers with multiple flights listed under a single booking (even a booking which includes several individual tickets), who can continue to be checked-in for their final destination at the start of the journey.

That covers scenarios such as Cathay passengers jetting to the USA with domestic connections on American Airlines, or to London with further flights on British Airways / Iberia when the entire trip was made under the one booking.

The safest option is to book all of your flights into one single booking.