Qantas tightens up check-in for connecting Oneworld flights

By David Flynn, June 15 2016
Qantas tightens up check-in for connecting Oneworld flights

Qantas will no longer transfer travellers' checked luggage onto connecting flights with Oneworld partner airlines from September 1st if that connecting flight has been made under a seperate booking.

The decision follows a contentious move by Oneworld – as first reported by Australian Business Traveller last week – under which the group's 15 member airlines are no longer required to check passengers and their baggage through to their final destination on some connecting flights.

Those flights are ones where a passenger's journey encompasses multiple flights listed on more than one booking, rather than all flights being listed under a single booking reference.

"Qantas will be implementing the new oneworld ticketing arrangements on 1 September 2016" a spokesperson for the airline confirmed to Australian Business Traveller.

"From 1 July Qantas check-in agents will be informing customers checking in on separate Oneworld tickets the policy has changed and that for travel from 1 September, they will need to book connections in a single booking to be eligible for through check-in to their final destination."

This will impact connections from Qantas flights onto the likes of American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, LAN/TAM, JAL, Malaysia Airlines and Qatar Airways.

You may be seeing more of your checked luggage between connecting flights
You may be seeing more of your checked luggage between connecting flights

Seamless connections a thing of the past for some

Let’s say you’re flying with Qantas to Hong Kong and then connecting onto a Cathay Pacific (or its regional sibling Dragonair) flight to China, as many business travellers do these days.

If your Qantas and Cathay Pacific bookings were made together or listed a single booking reference then your bags will be checked all the way through from Australia to your Chinese destination, as usual – and when you check in for the Qantas flight you’ll probably also get your Cathay Pacific boarding pass.

This means you can arrive at Hong Kong, go through the transit channel and head straight to the airport lounge before hopping onto your Cathay Pacific flight to China.

However, if those two flights were booked separately rather than appear under a single booking reference, you’ll need to

  1. clear immigration at Hong Kong
  2. wait for the bags to arrive from your Qantas flight and go through customs as if you’re leaving the airport
  3. then line up at the Cathay Pacific checkin counter, hand over your luggage and collect the boarding pass for your CX flight to China and go back through passport control
  4. and then relax in the lounge, if you still have time – although it's more likely you’ll end up rushing straight to the flight’s departure gate.

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David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1388

All I can say is: Booooo

Makes it substantially more difficult for people who's plans change, or using split paid/FF tickets. Likely to mean a lot more LCCs and less MH/CX in Asia for me

28 May 2016

Total posts 128

While this is less convient for travellers, I can see why it is being implemented. Why should OW airlines spend more time on travellers checking them in on seperate bookings? It all takes time and clog up the check in counters which leads to longer wait times.

Any way, can't some seperate booking's be merged prior to check in? I'm not completly sure so correct me if I'm worng. :P

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 978

I've had it done a number of times over the last 6 years at a number of ports (often remote stations for that airline). When the agent knows what they are doing, it takes them a few seconds.

To date, AA and JL agents have always been happy to do so. IB has always tried, but has often had issues with the computer attaching the baggage to the next flight (in this case, they were able to check me through across tickets BCN-MAD/MAD-LHR-DXB and issued boarding passes for the IB and BA flights, but when they tried to do the baggage tag, the computer gave up)

19 May 2016

Total posts 15

It might 'unclog' some of the check in counters at the initial airport by allowing agents to check passengers in quicker (and only by a couple of minutes, by the sounds of it), but it will just clog up the check in counters downstream at the next airport as the same passengers then re-check their baggage and get boarding passes. This might make it worse for all passengers using big hub airports, like HKG, SIN, LHR etc.

I don't think anyone's mentioned this yet, but what about the flow on effect this policy will have on customs and immigration services? We all know that many immigration queues are long enough already - now they'll have extra passengers passing through who only need to get to the next check in counter before going back airside again. The airline might save a few bucks, but the cost is getting passed on and amplified to airport services. We'll all pay more in the long run as that'll no doubt get passed back to us in the form of higher overall airfares.

Maybe as an idea OW airlines could now start setting up airside check in facilities to save the added load to immigration/customs.

19 May 2016

Total posts 15

Plus I forgot to mention the increased load on security queues at the connecting airport as passengers have to be re-screened to get airside again!

02 Jun 2016

Total posts 3

Now that I'm forced to recheck my bags regardless, I'll never have to fly QF's second rate 737 PER SIN service again. Hello SQ.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 477

Recheck your bags from where? If you're flying Qantas from Perth to Singapore you'd check your bags in at Perth and then...what? Collect them in Singapore? 

How is this a loss for you of service?

19 May 2016

Total posts 15

He might be flying PER-SIN with QF, then connecting on BA to LHR, or on JAL to NRT/HND, for example. Hence wanting to check bags all the way through.

I can sort of understand why QF is doing it; why should other Oneworld outlines be able to outsource their work to QF's checkin counters when QF isn't related to the booking?

That said, yeah, this really does lower the convenience value of Oneworld and lessen the benefit of the alliance overall.

It seems QF want to keep as many people booking through them as possible. In some ways this might benefit EK because Qantas doesn't (IIRC) sell other airlines' tickets (other than QF and EK) on Kangaroo Route flights. That said, one could always just book entirely through CX or JL or QR.

21 Aug 2015

Total posts 90

This too clever by QF...it will be an own goal............they don't fly to enough destinations and charge too much. I will book through another carrier. 

Dumb mover QF.........dumb move One world

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 560

It has been reported elsewhere that this has been Star Alliance policy for a number of years and a number of Star Alliance members won't through check on seperate PNR's. SQ for example.

So begs the question who else will you be choosing?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Jun 2014

Total posts 38

Sounds like a boon for using travel agents. I'm not sure of the technicalities, but our travel agent has combined a bunch of flights into one booking, convincing (don't ask me how) Qantas to take over the whole booking originally made on another one world airline.

I hate to think what will happen if your incoming flight arrives late.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jun 2015

Total posts 13

As a travel agent myself, we are able to force airlines to be under the same PNR. Our systems allow us to hold a ticket with multiple different Oneworld carriers and force them into the same PNR under QF's booking number. The only catch is the aifare must leave Australia under a QF number and obviously fit within the fare rules of QF.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Jun 2016

Total posts 1

So if I have 2 different flight bookings done at different times but both done under Qantas (flying with Emirates) and they connect up with stopovers in Dubai from Perth then on to Europe, I can get them all on the same booking number? Can this be done at the airport or prior with Qantas?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jun 2015

Total posts 13

No, sorry should have made it a bit clearer. It must be done at the time of ticketing. You can have to separate flights purchased at different times and get them onto the same PNR.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 560

Qantas to EK isn't effected so not an issue having them seperate anyway.

Are oneworld carriers trying to get us to book with travel agents rather than directly with them; because that will be the unintended consequence.

23 May 2012

Total posts 45

I am also a travel agent and it is easy enough to add flights on separate tickets into the same PNR (irrespective of where the flights commence and whether or not they fit within the QF fare rules).  The only exception is BA that counts the ticketing deadline for subseqent flights booked into an existing PNR from PNR creation: eg you book SYD-SIN on 1 June and then a separate ticket SIN-LON flight on 15 June with a ticketing deadline of 7 days, you will have automatically gone beyond the ticketing deadline (of 8 June) and be penalised.

However, it is no problem to book eg a side trip in the same PNR and have the baggage checked through if the connection is within 24 hours, such as eg: SYD-CX-HKG (AY ticket)/ (separate JL ticket but in the same PNR:HKG-JL-TYO-JL-HKG)/ HKG-AY-HEL-AY-LON (as part of the initial AY ticket).  

Your local travel agent will be happy to assist you with this!

14 Nov 2012

Total posts 12

I am assuming this policy will apply regardless of having booked the separate Qantas and AA flights some months ago? (or is there a chance it will only apply to bookings made post-July 1?)

20 Apr 2014

Total posts 94

I can confirm as of a few weeks ago that Singapore Airlines will interline to Qantas as the first booking.

This is a foolish move on Qantas's part.

21 Aug 2015

Total posts 90

This is just so typical of QF.........it's all about them. The whole Oneworld decision is wrong headed. In the long run they are under mining loyalty. Whats the point of locking in if there are no benefits. Pathetic little airlines like QF are the losers here. Going to Europe, because I don't like ME flights, I may have booked QF to HK and CX onwards. Not now. Its CX all the way. 

Really dumb QF...........just confirms my opinion. Out of touch and uncaring about customers....

22 Oct 2014

Total posts 10

I have been told a big part of the decision  is the responsibility for who pays the cost for lost or misplaced baggage. Too many bags going missing in transit and the last carrier gets lumped with finding or paying for replacement and delivery costs. 

Carriers going to kiosk checkin need to have staff input onward flights manually at exceptions desk also if not in same PERIOD.

21 Aug 2015

Total posts 90

well if that is the real reason a smarter move would be a new policy for airlines, charge the carrier who lost the bags. 

 

Disadvantaging the customer is really dumb.............an own goal....especially for little small network carriers like dear old QF. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 303

Will this affect domestic bookings on QF ?

ie, booked QF SYD-HK many months ago, and have just recently booked the QF MEL-SYD flight to connect with this flight.

Will QF transfer my bags onto the international flight or will i have to collect my bags domestically and check-in again at Sydney?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 477

I think you're missing the key point of the changes HF...

You're QF from MEL-SYD, then QF from SYD-HK - simply go to the manual check-in counter in MEL and ask them to link your domestic booking to the intl booking. Same on your return if you are doing similar. 

The article and this comment thread relate to what happens when you have two separate bookings that also involve two separate carriers...

Qantas

15 Jun 2016

Total posts 14

The return leg from HK reguires your bags to be collected in SYD so you can pass through customs before re-checking in for the domestic leg

15 Nov 2012

Total posts 13

Not a travel agent, but I heard that something called a "Ghost segment" could be added to the same booking? A "GK" segment"? Would that circumvent the problem? Since the flight sectors only need to be on the same "PNR" and not necessarily the same "ticket"?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Mar 2014

Total posts 5

I got caught up with this yesterday flying BA from JFK to LHR and BA from LHR to TXL booked through Qantas.

Qantas forced me to have 2 separate PNRs because the JFK to LHR was part of a oneworld round the world booking but the LHR to TXL pushed me over the 25000 mile limit by about 10 miles.

When I arrived at LHR and had to clear customers to collect my bags, I was grilled by the customs officer who said "are you sure you need to enter the UK". He then went on and treated me suspiciously with very difficult line of questions.

Luckily I was able to show him the previous AusBT article and after a few minutes, he cleared me saying this was the first he had heard of it.

The whole exercise to connect took around 90 minutes plus an additional 20 minutes to walk from a C pier hate to customs and another 20 minutes to get all the way back to the next gate in the C pier at T5 as a business class fast track customer and means the minimum connection times advertised by airlines are no longer relevant as we needed to allow for a 30 minute customs wait and another 30 minute departure checks wait.

to make matters worse, BA does not allow check in until approx 3 hours before the flight at LHR so if you are diligent and allow for the additional time to connect on the 2 separate bookings, you may end up waiting in the check in hall until they are ready to accept you.

This while initiative is a really backward step for the indusry

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1254

Your issue is a BA to BA transfer which would be covered by BA policy. The OW changes, and now the QF ones, impact customers flying on 2 seperate PNR's on 2 different airlines.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 978

BA refuses to even check through to itself now. Their custom version of Amadeus Altea blocks it (even though the basic version of the GDS gives the option to do so).

I think the max check in times with BA at LHR depends on where you try to check in, status and cabin class. I haven't had an issue with check in times at LHR for years. My problem at LHR is the connections set up and BA always seems to misplace my bag if I don't have it short checked and recheck it myself.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jun 2016

Total posts 4

OW airlines might as well shut their web sites down, most of their multi cities with stopovers are useless. Try book a multi cities trip on QF web site. This is a windfall for the travel agents or sites like Expedia.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 303

I thought most multi-city bookings are booked onto the same PNR so should not be an issue?

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 560

Half right. Your right in that if on same PNR they will be through checked.

 But think the point the OP was making is it is rather difficult to actually make a meaningful multicity booking, and in my experiance it also tends to be very expensive depending upon the carriers involved. It is often significantly cheaper to book these kind of flights seperatly.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1254

Why? Same booking will have same PNR

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jun 2016

Total posts 4

You can only book multi cities on their web site where QF flies to. Some city the site will tell you to call the office and you need to pay for their service. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jun 2016

Total posts 4

The other way is to book multiple tickets and now you have to collect & recheck

04 May 2016

Total posts 34

Entirely consistent with QF's view of its pax as self-loading cargo - now required to do even more self-loading.

VA

10 Sep 2014

Total posts 25

I am also a TA and yes we can add multiple different bookings to the same PNR, and in most cases booked at different times

 

Glad to see the airlines doing us a favour!!

 

15 Jun 2016

Total posts 3

So oneworld is now following the same policy that Star has adopted for years.  As it  says in the baggage faqs at staralliance.com, "To have baggage checked-in on flights that are operated by Star Alliance member carriers, the flights must be included in the same booking record. Baggage cannot be checked-through, regardless of booking on the same record, if government restrictions are in effect or it the passenger is changing airports within their connection point (e.g. arriving into New York John F. Kennedy airport and departing from New York LaGuardia airport)."  

Anyone know what the official SkyTeam policy is?  I can't find it on its website.

 

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 978

Will QF still check through to itself and EK on different PNRs?

29 Jan 2012

Total posts 108

The whole situation is quite simple guys and girls - it is all about revenue, but we already knew that. The change stops back to back discount tickets on Oneworld carriers being used to create a booking, in preference for the complete booking to be made at the one time with the Oneworld network which will of course cost more - its all about the dollars and cents. You can still choose your discount back to back flights but Oneworld will make you pay for this by having to check and recheck for your connecting flights - simple revenue raising decision. Thats what it all about. Enjoy!!!

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 978

except that ignores the many other reasons people end up having to make different bookings.

20 Feb 2012

Total posts 65

From a revenue perspective they will actually start to lose out. Previously people were likely to book both sectors with oneworld for the convinience. Now you might decide to book with someone else because it is significantly cheaper.

OneWorld needs to realise that it needs to be demonstrating benefits to customers of sticking to OneWorld rather than only concentrating on making it simple for airlines.

04 Dec 2013

Total posts 133

So much for an alliance.  Given that adding the domestic sector I need on QF will often add €500 to a booking from Europe (as opposed to booking exactly the same flight separately), I often do this.  Or used to.

Since the changes to status accrual on OW member airlines I've been sticking with the VA/EY combo which has quickly given me a nice shiny platinum card to replace my QF platinum which they made it near impossible to maintain.  And VA will happily check your bags onto the EY connection to Europe even if you're on a separate booking. 

22 Jun 2013

Total posts 98

One wonders whether frequent flyer status will have any impact on Qantas' (and other airlines for that matter) willingness to increase passenger convenience on this issue...

19 May 2016

Total posts 15

Can one of the travel agents clarify for everybody:

1) If I have two separate tickets on different PNRs, booked online, can a TA combine them (assuming there's some incentive for them to do so)?

2) If I have a ticket on one PNR, do I have to add any other subsequent tickets directly through the TA in order to get them on the same PNR?

Just wondering what the best path forward is for many people, particularly those who might book a longer leg some way out, and a shorter connecting flight at a later time.

Hi thehound, I'm not a travel agent but the advice we've received to your first point is no, you need to book directly with a travel agent for them to 'own' that PNR, not via an airline website.

On the second, if your initial booking was made via the travel agent you will likely be able to add further bookings under the same PNR, although if the initial booking was made via an airline website, likely not.

23 May 2012

Total posts 45

The answers to your questions:

1. No.

2. Yes, your agent will be able to include another ticket into your existing PNR booked with that TA (eg you book SYD-LON on 1 June on QF for departure on 1 November (arriving 2 Nov), you can then add a ticket LON-VIE on any date thereafter (eg OS) for 2 Nov (ie a direct connection), and the baggage will go through as both tickets are in the same PNR)

I hope this helps.

04 May 2016

Total posts 34

So if I book first on the QF website - so they 'own' the PNR - I should then be able to book a connecting flight elsewhere and then ring Qantas and have it added to the original PNR, right ?

And don't say "good luck with that". ;)

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 560

If both flights are on Qantas you can and they will link or join them, though maybe pointless as Qantas will still through check their own flights anyway.

If they are on seperate PNR's, one a Qantas PNR and one say BA, then they won't own the second booking, so cannot do it even if they wanted to.

Difference with an agent is they own the booking, but even they cannot add a flight made through someone else to your booking. They can add flights they make of course, which is what I beleive the question related to.

 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jun 2016

Total posts 1

On one hand I can understand why however there are a number of points one being the QF website won't let you make certain bookings to the USA switching to AA and yes before anyone says connection time there's plenty always leave 3hrs from scheduled wheels down as LAX can be real slow at the time QF11 lands. So multi-city bookings fails so you ticket separately so now OW is reducing customer service levels and expectations. At LAX you have to clear customs and get your luggage and deposit it again anyway so inbound to USA not a real issue. In summary bad customer service is all I can say.

07 Feb 2011

Total posts 3

Unless there is an inhibitor in the Altea checkin system today, once it was a breeze to add another sector to eanble bagtags to be issued to final destination with most carriers. Pax then only had to obtain boarding pass from a transfer desk or gate at the transit point unless in some cases boarding pass printed at the first point of checkin. Like many of you I can see this new baggage system creating nothing but problems for the passengers. Eg, possibly require a visa to clear customs at transfer airport, having to wait for bags from the first carrier, further more having to locate checkin counters or worse a change of terminals for the next flight causing another delay. Waiting to be checked in as well as Q's at security. This may delay departures in particular if pax bags have been loaded on the connecting aircraft, worst case senario passenger being offloaded due late arrival at gate. 

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 560

I think the theory behind this, is if you choose to make seperate bookings then any issue then becomes your problem not the airline who checked you in, who may well be a 3rd party to it all anyway.

I don't like it as there are many circumstances where having two seperate bookings is the most logical thing to do (QF dom to OneWorld Int for example), but by the same token I can see why airlines are essentially saying you make two bookings to make it cheaper for you, then we are not going to make it easy for you, nor if you have a connection issue rebook you at our expense.


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