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.
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