New Baggage Fees Could Double Costs and Cause More Problems

New Baggage Fees Could Double Costs and Cause More Problems

There are yet more ancillary airline fees looming out there you should be aware of. They may well affect your next Hawaii vacation and it could cost you more than just money.

First thanks to Beat of Hawaii friend Dodge who reminded me of this situation which first came to my attention last year, in Fall 2011. It relates to US DOT rule 397 and deals with itineraries using more than one carrier. Here’s what DOT proferred:

In the case of a passenger itinerary composed of more than one ticket, the rule does not require a downline carrier to apply the baggage allowances or fees of the first carrier if the flight of the first carrier is on a separate ticket from the other flights.

The situation in a nutshell

Most (but not all) airlines have traditionally offered free interlining of baggage, period. If the other airline’s flight wasn’t on the same ticket, simply showing that ticket was enough to qualify you for checking your bags all the way to your desination. So if you fly on United from Chicago to Los Angeles and switch to Hawaiian from Los Angeles to Kona, you would pay once and United would check your bag through to your final destination. And visa versa.

What to expect:

Beginning May 1, 2012, Hawaiian will not through check bags to other airline flights unless the other airline segments are on the PNR for which the passenger is checking in.

Airlines may now require you to claim and recheck baggage at intermediate stops along the way if you did not purchase tickets on a single itinerary. Therefore, a single suitcase may cost you $70 each way, when using two carriers. You should also plan on additional time between flights when using multiple tickets in order to reclaim and recheck baggage when changing carriers.

I expect virtually all domestic carriers to follow suit. Australia’s Qantas was I believe first to implement this change last year.

What You Can Do:

Purchase a single ticket for your entire itinerary – unless there’s a significant and overriding reason for (and savings)  buying tickets separately.

Check with your carriers (first carrier on your outbound and inbound flights) to see how they are handling interlining on separate tickets.

Travel with carry-on luggage only whenever possible if you have separate tickets to avoid having to pay twice, leave security and recheck bags.


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6 Comments

  1. Ed (2 years ago)

    I’m getting tired of bending over and grabbing my ankles all the time for the airlines…

    • Jeff (2 years ago)

      Mahalo for your comments. This is definitely a weird one – surprised it didn’t happen sooner given the airline industry’s passion for fees.

      @Ed. It certainly isn’t a fun industry, and they have real challenges. I was looking at Alaska’s earnings today and they aren’t stellar. Earnings fell 45% on fuel costs. A tough situation.
      @Jimbo. I was thinking in the same directions. Sometimes when traveling I’ll hit thrift shops – both for the fun and to get “temporary” travel gear.
      @Alba. Conur with you that Allegiant’s model of charging for carry-on luggage will become widespread.
      @Dodge. I haven’t really checked the inter-island codeshare components. It is odd if they vary for the exact same flight.
      @Dave. USPS Priority mail is looking very reasonable too.

      Aloha.

      Jeff

  2. jimbo (2 years ago)

    If you have family or friends in Hawaii, take some clothes (or buy some) when you get there and then leave them there if you can. Most people go a few times a year to see the same people. Most likely you have a two or three outfit change and access to a washing machine. so that way you won’t have to check your baggage in..you won’t have any. Also Try a shipping co. and mail your luggage packed ahead of time. I’ll bet their prices are lower than the Airlines. Enjoy.

  3. Alba (2 years ago)

    I’m convinced the airlines aren’t going to let us bring carryon luggage for free either. I’m not sure how they will do it – perhaps limit it to one carryon bag and no personal item.

  4. Dodge (2 years ago)

    Mahalo Jeff; i’ll link this to Trip Advisor (home to a bunch of disgruntled fllyers). Interesting how different airlines price Hawaiian code share; on tickets for the flights of TA member Hanaleibound (who tipped us off to the new hawaiian policy), Delta priced a $90 Hawaiian Air LIH-HNL fare at $132. For our travel dates next February, the incremental cost of KOA-HNL works out to $71.

  5. dave w (2 years ago)

    It will probably end up cheaper to send your baggage ahead by UPS or FedEx