So, you have an upcoming trip that involves a few stopovers and you’re worried your luggage won’t make it there. For many travellers, there is an overwhelming desire to issue all their flight segments onto one ticket.
Travellers are concerned that if they are issued separate tickets, it will mean they have to pick up their bags at the intermediate point and increase issues around missed connections due to flight delays.
While both are valid points, it can also exponentially increase the cost of your ticket to issue it this way. Our Travel Experts share a few tips on what you need to know when travelling on multiple tickets:
Some Background: How an Interline Agreement Works
Many full-service airlines have an interline e-ticketing agreement with each other. This is by no means restricted by their Alliance. We tend to find most major international carriers need help from the Canadian domestic carriers to get travellers to a point within Canada or the USA from which they can take over.
For instance, in Eastern Canada, Emirates has an agreement with both Air Canada and WestJet to uplift clients to Toronto where Emirates will take over and fly you to Dubai. From Western Canada, Emirates enlists the help of Alaska Airlines to get travellers to Seattle or Los Angeles amongst other options.
By virtue of an airline forming an interline agreement, this will allow both airlines to see passengers coming from one carrier to the next, or alternatively allow the first carrier to thru-check a passenger from their origin all the way to their destination, including baggage.
When you have one ticket and multiple airlines, they will be able to see the complete itinerary from a review of the e-ticket and check you in accordingly. However, if you are travelling on two separate tickets, the first carrier can still thru-check you once you notify them of your situation and present your onward carriers e-ticket.
What to do when travelling on two separate tickets:
1) Ask your Flight Centre agent to complete the booking on one PNR (reservation). You can be booked in one reservation, but have multiple tickets issued from that source.
2) Complete online check-in for all carriers 24 hours prior to travel and collect your boarding passes (either on your mobile device or by printing at home).
3) At baggage drop, notify the check-in agent that you are connecting and present your onwards e-ticket and/or airline confirmation. They will then tag your bags to your final destination (In cases where you’re required to collect your luggage at a connecting airport, this allows you to bring your luggage to the connection drop-off belt rather than rushing to get a new luggage tag in between flights).
Will the airlines automatically move your luggage for you?
It’s important to note that depending on your transit point you may be required to collect luggage regardless of having your flights issued on one or two tickets. This will occur most frequently at your first point of contact with a country where you are required to clear customs and immigration.
For instance, a flight from London to Toronto to Winnipeg will require immigration clearance and luggage collection in Toronto to enter into Canada, before connecting to the Winnipeg flight. Baggage in this instance will be tagged to Winnipeg but will be on the Toronto baggage carousel to pass through customs first. You will then be able to drop off the bag at the next baggage drop point where it will be passed onto the next flight.
Our Travel Experts can tell you whether your airlines will be taking care of transferring your luggage for you or if you’ll need to pick them up yourself.
Consider skipping the luggage wait altogether
Want to travel without waiting for your luggage at the airport carousel? There’s an art to it! Our Travel Experts explain the top 4 tips ways to save time while you’re flying: savvy packing, priority baggage tags, airline delivery, and baggage shipping here.
So what is the benefit of having two different tickets?
Cost, combinability and plating carrier are the main factors that any good travel agent looks at. What the heck are these, you ask?
When dealing with complicated itineraries involving two or more stops, you might not be able to obtain the best possible price if it’s all issued on one ticket. This is where the term ‘plating carrier’ comes into effect. The plating carrier is the airline that accepts responsibility for the ticket, and in turn, will distribute the funds for the other airline flight segments back to them. This can be a long and challenging process for some airlines, and as a result, they might limit which fares are permitted to be issued on a different carrier’s ticket stock.
For instance, let’s say a one-way flight from London to Paris on a British Airways ticket costs GBP6.00 ($10CAD) plus applicable taxes. However, if you were to issue a combination of Air Canada from Toronto to London, and British Airways from London to Paris on the one ticket, the British Airways portion of the Air Canada plated ticket jumps to a much higher price – in this case, a GBP232 ($370CAD) plus tax value. This is because the cheaper value has to be issued on British Airways ticket stock, and it isn’t until you reach a higher fare value that the BA fare is allowed to be issued on a different carrier’s ticket stock. You would still be able to thru-check because British Airways and Air Canada have an interline ticketing agreement, but you would simply need to follow the steps above.
This is what our Flight Centre Experts are here for! The internet will simply bundle fares together to issue on one ticket, but an agent can break things down and provide sound advice on how to book separate tickets, save money, and advise you if two airlines have an interline ticketing agreement to allow your bags to be thru-checked.
We offer travel consultations in-person, by phone, email, online chat, video chat, and our 24/7 Customer Care line. Whatever works for you!