How do I Check Through Luggage When Changing Airlines?
Getting from point A to point B with your luggage intact proves a challenge if your trip calls for changes in airlines. Many airlines have interline agreements meant to make the transition of luggage ownership easier, but not all airlines have these contracts in place. It is the traveler's responsibility to verify that your luggage lands on the right flight with your chosen carrier. For trips that require more than one airline, take a few extra steps to ensure that all your suitcases arrive when you do. You might have to claim and check your bag after each leg.
Look at your ticket and note how many airline services you will use. Contact each airline by phone to verify that all the airlines you plan to use have an interline agreement. Airlines like Frontier (flyfrontier.com) offer a list of partners on its website.
Show each airline a copy of your itinerary. Ask the staff to verify that no additional baggage fees will be charged. Also, compare the baggage limits for each airline. Some airlines, like Alaska Air, only take checked bags that weigh 50 pounds or less.
Visit the baggage terminal after every flight. Check the suitcase tag, and replace the tag if it is missing or torn. If your layover is more than four hours long, keep your bags with you. Assume that you need to check your own bags through when flying internationally. When flying internationally, pay the checked bag fees with the largest or most prominent airline. You should not have to pay baggage fees twice on an international flight.
Stop at the baggage carousel after every flight to claim your luggage. Examine the bags to make sure everything is intact. Take the luggage to the next airline listed on your itinerary. Check the bags and pay any required fees with a credit card.
Tie a bright-colored tag on your suitcase handle to make identifying it easier.
Some companies, like Alaska Air, no longer check bags through to the final destination if you present separate tickets at check-in. Allow yourself time between flights to check and re-check your baggage.