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So what is an interline agreement?
Simply, an interline agreement allows a passenger to get to a destination using different airlines, change planes, and have a checked bag be on the final baggage claim when they land. This allows airlines to issue a single ticket on different carriers. It’s also how airlines can issue you a ticket in the event of a delay or cancellation on another airline: one they have an interline agreement with.
Passengers don’t pull their hair out and airlines make more $$$
Interlining is helpful to passengers in a variety of ways. Here’s a few
- Those who may live in an area that one airline alone doesn’t serve and therefore need two different airlines. Instead of that passenger needing to book two separate tickets, retrieve their luggage and recheck it, they can rest easy knowing their bags will be transferred to the other airline and they can just go to their gate, and get their bag at their final destination.
- Award tickets avail from a hub but not your city
- Two separate tickets are just cheaper
Interlining is helpful to airlines
- They earn more money because their network effectively expands
- They can accommodate stranded passengers with interline partners at pre-negotiated industry prices
United’s Interline info
I always wondered how this worked and was playing around with expertflyer when I came across United’s interline agreement which looks like this: United has one of the most generous interline agreements
As you can see above, there are two categories that expertflyer shows for United’s interline agreement: E-Tickets they can issue, and Paper ticket/baggage they may check. Maybe you’ve noticed websites like Orbitz, Expedia, etc can sell tickets that will put you on two different airlines. If that first airline is United, then they will have to have an interline agreement with the second airline in order to complete the process. They have interline agreements with most legacy carriers it appears and therefore can check your bag on through to them.
It’s worth noting tho that American has a very limited interline agreement when dealing with separate tickets. They will only check bags on through to American, American Eagle, and One World partners.
Delta has no interline agreements
How could the information on expertflyer be useful?
As mentioned above, I think it to be particularly useful when booking award tickets. Sometimes you need to book a positioning flight in order to get to your main departure city, often a hub.
- Let’s look at this scenario – IAH to DME on Singapore Air – It’s a fantastic value at 57,375 miles ( after the 15% online discount) But you need to get to Houston.
- Well, United and Singapore are both in Star Alliance so, in theory, this shouldn’t be a problem for the agent to check your bags on through to the Singapore flight, even if you are using two separate tickets. That’s pretty great, especially if you have a quick transfer.
- However, don’t count on it – a lot of agents either won’t have the know-how or won’t be bothered to sort it out for you.
BUT IF YOU’RE THE FRISKY TYPE LIKE MILES….You wanna try!!!!
Here’s the check list.
- Make sure that it’s actually possible by double checking on Expertflyer
- Cross your fingers and pray that you get a very knowledgable and willing agent
- it’s completely up to their discretion
- Make sure that you are checked in to all flights and have boarding passes for those flights.
- Your checked baggage meets the most restrictive requirements for any of the airlines you’re traveling on.
- You will pay the bag fees of the origin flight – even if you qualify for waived fees on the connecting flight
- in the above scenario, Singapore would allow 2 free. United would charge for both if booked into coach for the positioning flight.
- If you need to pass through customs on your trip…’America and Australia’ – you still collect and recheck bags.
Lemme know your interlining experiences.
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