Cathay Pacific abandons unpopular Oneworld checked baggage rules

By Chris C., December 21 2016
Cathay Pacific abandons unpopular Oneworld checked baggage rules

EXCLUSIVE | Cathay Pacific will scrap its restrictive and unfriendly through-checked baggage rules from January 1 2017, reverting to the airline's previous policy.

Introduced earlier this year as part of an alliance-wide policy change at Oneworld, the new rules required passengers with connecting flights to have their entire journey booked under the one reservation in order to have their bags checked-through and onward boarding passes issued.

Passengers booking their connecting flights separately were instead required to collect their checked baggage in between flights – and in most cases, clear customs and immigration – before again carting their bags to a check-in desk and continuing their voyage.

But come New Years Day, Cathay Pacific and also Cathay Dragon passengers with connecting flights on Oneworld partner airlines, including Qantas and British Airways, will again be checked right through to their final destination, even when those flights are on entirely separate bookings.

There’s just one catch: this only applies where Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon is the first airline you fly with as part of your connecting journey that day, rather than when flying with another airline and connecting onwards to Cathay.

For example, if you had one booking to fly Cathay Pacific from Sydney to Hong Kong and a second, separate booking to fly with Oneworld’s Finnair from Hong Kong to Helsinki, Cathay Pacific staff in Sydney will again be able to check you right through to Finland, bags and all.

However, if you were flying with Qantas from Canberra to Sydney on one booking and then travelling from Sydney to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific on a separate booking, you’d still need to visit the Cathay Pacific check-in desks to drop off your baggage and obtain your boarding pass.

“Individual member airlines are free to offer service above and beyond the (Oneworld) alliance minimum standard if they so choose,” Oneworld communications chief Michael Blunt told Australian Business Traveller earlier this year when the ‘one booking’ rules were introduced.

Accordingly, Cathay Pacific describes this move “as a courtesy” to its passengers, while most other Oneworld airlines – including Qantas, British Airways and Qatar Airways – retain the Oneworld ‘minimum standard’ of refusing to through-check passengers who book their flights separately.

Also read: Oneworld airlines revise baggage policy for connecting flights

Connect with other business travellers in our Cathay Pacific discussion group

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 May 2011

Total posts 232

Bravo Cathay, bravo!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Dec 2016

Total posts 16

I can report that yesterday Finnair through checked all my bags PEK-HEL-LHR-AMS. The last leg was a completely separate BA booking. Was not expecting them to be so helpful but it really speeded the transit from LHR T3 to T5.

05 Jan 2014

Total posts 25

Glad someone has a brain! 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jun 2015

Total posts 105

This is great!!!

Hopefully others (Qantas in particular) will follow or the rules will just be reverted back.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1025

I doubt it will officially be reverted alliance wide without a major kicking to higher ups at BA.

Everything people have heard about the change to start with suggests that it was done at the behest of BA in an attempt by BA to stop people from booking cheap flights from London into the EU, then connecting onto cheaper ex-EU flights back through LHR on to North America or Asia.

BA was the first airline to change to the current policy, from day 1, while other airlines gave 1-2 months notice before changing. BA also put in a lock out in their check in overlay that actively prevented agents from checking through.
They removed the overlay after lots of complaints and allowed BA-BA through check again. They have now, again reversed that back to no check through period.

Has BA changed BA-BA check in on separate PNRs? I thought that dispensation was in place! What's your source Himeno?

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1025

BA removed all cross ticket check through when the policy was changed 1 June.
Added BA-BA back during July.
Removed it again Nov 15.


16 Nov 2011

Total posts 586

That was the first thing that changed and given the chop.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 473

Now that one of the partners has blinked, I suspect the rest of the majors will follow in due course! Though you can't help but feel that BA may have to be dragged back to the old model kicking and screaming!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 462

Yes, supposedly the original change was made at BA's behest.

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1242

This move is great PR for CX.

04 Sep 2012

Total posts 30

Monday I flew CX BKK-SIN and then QF SIN-BNE-POM. QF was on a separate ticket. CX checkin reminded me of the rules about through checking baggage but then went ahead and booked the bags through to POM.  Thank you CX   


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Feb 2015

Total posts 10

Well done CX. Hope Qantas and other OW airlines follow their example.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1025

Yay. CX is fixing BA's screw up and moving back in line with MH and JL. (JL never changed. They checked me through across PNRs twice in Oct).

The update on the CX site is a bit confusing. It seems to suggest both a return to the old policy and that they'll check through to anyone.

Yep I can concur too. On Sunday CX MEL checked us through on our CX and QR flights despite being on separate PNRs. They informed us the policy will officially change from 1 Jan 2017 - didn't realise it was just a move by CX (we had a assumed OW came to its senses - alas!). Thanks Chris for reporting. Good one!

Good for Cathay. Quality improvements are good things and hopefully CX will lead by example.

I'll be flying CX in April so I hope everything goes nicely.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 412

Bravo Bravo. At last an airline listening to its clients and passengers. Well done Cathay Pacific. Hopefully all others fall in. Take note British Airways, you lot started the problem

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 412

man you lot at BA have a lot to answer for.

02 Jun 2016

Total posts 7

I think I'll just fly Qantas from now on!! too complicated and their food is better anyway!! pity about the service I had that crazy scenario of exactly that at 5 am in Canberra when the Qantas ground staff tells me ...nope can't check ur bags thru as it wasn't one booking and this was after being informed Qantas is delayed 1/2 hr to Sydney for CX flight! then she relented as the Qa was a FF points flight and she checked bags thru otherwise it would've been a stressful time catching CX in Sydney with baggage manoeuvres!! actually I'm still confused and mad about the way this QA ground staff handled this !!


16 May 2015

Total posts 23

This month I flew Trieste-Munich-London on Lufthansa to connect to a Cathay Pacific flight in London back to Wellington via Hong Kong and Auckland. Bags were booked all the way through from Trieste to Wellington-no problem. I was surprised but very pleased.

29 Jan 2015

Total posts 41

I just chose CX via Hong Kong to NZ from Europe because of this.

Had enough of BA's meanness.  I look every month for the new announcement of what this mean-minded accountant-led miserable airline, is going to cut next for their customers.  

I'm done with you pretty much unless I really have to fly you, BA.

04 Jan 2017

Total posts 1

I cant believe BA were allowed to implement this.  One of the conditions for their merger with BMI was that BA must do more to support connections to long haul carriers at LHR.  This approach seems to breach that condition.

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