New Airline Baggage Policy

New baggage policy – interline through baggage check discontinued
  
“Effective July 24, 2012 the DOT has mandated new baggage rules requiring airline passengers to pay the same published baggage fees[1] and have the same allowances for their entire itinerary. As a result of this new policy, effective August 1, 2012 US Airways will no longer be through checking passengers’ bags when they have been ticketed on separate tickets. For interline itineraries where the passenger has their entire journey on one ticket, we will continue our practice as it is done today, however when the tickets are split (e.g. ticket 1 on US Airways from Phoenix to Honolulu and ticket 2 on Hawaiian Air from Honolulu to Lihue) we will only check the bag to the destination on the US Airways ticket.
A ticketing and baggage agreement is required to ticket interline itineraries on one record (PNR). Published minimum connect times are only valid for interline itineraries; minimum connect time cannot be precisely calculated when bags are not through checked.” 
-US Airways
So far this is a policy of US Airways, but undoubtedly the other airlines will follow. In order to minimize the problems this will cause (missed flights due to the extra time needed to claim bags, schlep them to the next ticket counter, and check in for the next flight), we will always try to get your flights on a single ticket. When this is not possible, we will do our best to make sure you have plenty of time to deal with your luggage and make your next flight. 
What this will eventually mean for travelers is that if you are going to Morocco, for example, and find a really great fare on Royal Air Moroc from New York, but you book a separate ticket to get to New York, you will not be able to check your luggage all the way to Morocco. You will have to collect it in New York, then recheck it on Royal Air Moroc, instead of just going to the gate for your next flight.
No doubt this regulation was imposed to try and make things more transparent for travelers, but the response from the airlines is just creating more difficulty for the passengers. Ask when booking a ticket if all legs will be on one ticket or not, so you will know what to expect. 
[1] Carriers are not required to recognize exemptions to other carriers’ baggage policies such as free first or second bags due to frequent flyer status or loyalty credit card membership. The carrier’s published baggage fees or US Airways’ baggage fees must be charged, depending on a variety of factors including first marketing carrier and/or most significant marketing carrier.
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