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Checking bags through at Star Alliance and SkyTeam

check-in3Several readers of our article Oneworld to lower its minimum service requirements asked us how onewworld’s minimum service standards relate to those of the other airline alliances Star Alliance and SkyTeam.

Star Alliance is with 28 member airlines the biggest of the 3 alliances. SkyTeam is smaller with 20 members, while oneworld is the smallest with only 15 members.

Basically, there is little difference between the new minimum service requirements of the 3 alliances. Thus, oneworld’s current minimum service standards are the best until they will be lowered on September 1, 2016.

Both Star Alliance and SkyTeam will check the bags of connecting passengers through to their final destinations provided they have booked all flight segments under 1 reservation and all flights are operated by carriers that are members of the particular alliance.

If the flights are divided over multiple reservations, however, it is left at the discretion of the member airline whether or not to check your bag through to your final destination. The carrier only has the obligation to book your bag through to your final destination according to the first ticket.

belt2Thus, when you fly on multiple tickets it is likely that you will have to collect your bag at the final destination according to the first reservation. This implies that you need to allow many hours between arrival on your first ticket and departure on your second ticket. The reason is that you will need to pass immigration, clear customs, collect your bag at the conveyor belt in the arrival hall, re-check it at a check-in counter in the departure hall and pass passport control again.

This is a time consuming affair, so even if your flight will arrive on time, you need many hours. In addition, you may want to allow additional time for the possibility that your flight will arrive late.

Airlines may have bilateral agreements about through checking of baggage, so you may want to check with them whether or not you can check your bag through. If you are not sure, do not count on through-checking. The best way to have your bags checked through is to book all flights under the same reservation.

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