Qatar Airways ditches Oneworld's restrictive baggage rules

Qatar Airways ditches Oneworld's restrictive baggage rules

EXCLUSIVE | Qatar Airways is taking a welcome step back from the Oneworld alliance's traveller-unfriendly baggage rules for connecting flights.

From March 1, the Gulf airline will once again allow passengers to have checked baggage sent ahead from any Qatar Airways flight to any connecting flight on any Oneworld airline – even if those flights are booked on seperate tickets.

The only caveat will be that the time between two flights meets the airport's 'minimum connection time' or MCT – a period which is typically two hours.

Under the current and highly contentious Oneworld rules, introduced in June 2015, passengers connecting from airline to another – such as from Qatar Airways to fellow Oneworld members Qantas, British Airways or Cathay Pacific – had to have both flights made under the same booking to enjoy  seamless luggage transfer from check-in to their first flight to arrival of their second flight.

Booked your two tickets separately? You could have to to step off your Qatar Airways flight, clear airport immigration, wait for your checked bags to appear on the luggage belt, then take them through customs and back to the airport's departures level, to check them in again for your onwards flight.

That's a time-consuming headache which no business traveller needs, but Qatar Airways now plans to do away with that headache.

An update to the airline's ground services manual issued on February 23 and sighted by Australian Business Traveller instructs that even under seperate tickets baggage can be through-checked for Qatar Airways and Oneworld member airlines as long as the MCT is adhered to.

A spokesperson for Qatar Airways confirmed the change to Australian Business Traveller, saying the new rules would take effect from March 1.

"Qatar Airways is pleased to offer passengers the courtesy of through-check of themselves and their bags to their final destination when travelling on multi-sector journeys involving connections onto other Oneworld member airlines, even when the trip is booked using separate tickets."

But it won't necessarily work on the other way, such as a return journey which starts on another Oneworld member before connecting to a Qatar Airways flight.

"Customers should note that through-check may not be possible on their return journey if their trip starts with another (Oneworld) airline that does not provide the same level of service," the spokesperson added.

Qatar Airways' previous policy, as confirmed by an airline spokesperson to Australian Business Traveller, was that "where tickets are issued under separate bookings, passengers will need to collect their luggage during transit to minimise impact of itinerary changes outside of Qatar Airways control."

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

14 comments

  • jianga

    jianga

    26 Feb, 2017 08:29 pm

    Good on you Qatar, along with CX who also ditched this ridiculous rule (apparently instigated by BA) that totally defects the purpose of an airline alliance. Maybe QF will ditch it too one day....there's always hope.
    Members who gave thanks

    Jamesward, Alex Gough

  • Azri Azmi

    azriazmi90

    28 Feb, 2017 05:50 pm

    same goes to Malaysia Airlines, MH. 
    No member give thanks

  • James Ward

    Jamesward

    26 Feb, 2017 10:43 pm

    When you say "... within the airport's 'minimum connection time' " do you mean the connection must be longer then the MCT or shorter? I have a QR flight from AKL to CAI with a separate ticket on BA  to LHR next day.  Will this qualify for through-checking of my bags? 
    No member give thanks

  • Tom Paseka

    peskey

    27 Feb, 2017 01:11 am

    if your layover is less than 24 hours, yes, it can be checked-through. 
    Member who gave thanks

    Jamesward

  • James Ward

    Jamesward

    27 Feb, 2017 01:24 am

    Perfect! Thanks. 
    No member give thanks

  • Tom Paseka

    peskey

    27 Feb, 2017 02:28 am

    longer than MCT. If MCT is 120, your layover must be 120 or greater 
    No member give thanks

  • cloud-9

    cloud-9

    27 Feb, 2017 11:26 am

    Obvioisly longer. 
    No member give thanks

  • James Ward

    Jamesward

    27 Feb, 2017 08:11 pm

    It's clearer now that David has re-worded the paragraph but wasn't obvious before. 
    No member give thanks

  • Stephen O'Mahony

    sgom6011

    27 Feb, 2017 01:08 am

    Pleased to advise that JAL booked me and my luggage through from AKJ ( Asahikawa via HND ) to PER today without question. HND-HKG-PER with CX
    No member give thanks

  • Himeno

    Himeno

    27 Feb, 2017 04:44 am

    JAL never changed to the lower no check through policy to start with.
    No member give thanks

  • John Prior

    JohnP

    27 Feb, 2017 03:45 pm

    How about Jetstar and Qantas having the same policy?  
    Not sure what is to happen to me next week when I try to connect from Sapporo (CTS) to NRT on JQ and then NRT to BNE via QF.  You used to be able to go CTS/NRT on JAL, but now is limited to one or two flights a day.  JAL checked bags through to BNE on these connections. 
    No member give thanks

  • Serg

    Serg

    27 Feb, 2017 05:14 pm

    AFAIK JQ never handle baggage unless ticket sold by QF. So if you on one booking by QF then you perfectly fine. If it two separate booking then you stuffed. Saying that I should add than asking politely could make whole lot of difference. I was traveling MEL-BKK by JQ arriving 7pm or so and then BKK-HEL by AY departing 9am or so on two separate tickets. First customer "service" person said that checking to HEL is ABSOLUTELY impossible because JQ does not do it and because BKK does not allow bags overnight. My reasoning that it is still less than 24 hr was ignored with attitude "I told you thus it is correct - you must listen and not argue". I walked 5 min around and came to other counter and bingo it happens to be possible. Though representative warned me that there is no way for AY to see that I have a bag, so upon check-in I have to show them my baggage barcode to be sure that my bags will be transferred on plane. Everything was working like a charm.
    No member give thanks

  • Serg

    Serg

    27 Feb, 2017 05:15 pm

    I am not flying Qatar, but welcoming their move in hope that rest of companies will follow.
    No member give thanks

  • Mark McCullough

    pointyendmark

    28 Feb, 2017 12:05 am

    This is a much appreciated change, but 2 weeks too late for me. Flew QR LHR to SIN last week to connect with MH to KL and the 2 hour transit was a nightmare rush after very slow immigration at SIN and lazy contract check in staff. No time to use lounge. A waste of a business class ticket.
    No member give thanks

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22 May, 2019 05:11 pm

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