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Cathay Pacific Book

Check in baggage

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Rules last updated on 1 April 2015

- We update our carrier rules frequently to take into account flight rules from across the globe. Our most recent updates provide new rules for codeshare flight tickets purchased on or after 1 April 2015; and flights to, from, or with the furthest checked point in the U.S. or Canada in a multi-leg flight are now aligned with policies from the U.S. Department of Transport (US DOT) and the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA). Read on for more.

- If your ticket was issued on or after 1 April 2015, your baggage is determined by the marketing carrier. The abbreviation code of your flight number indicates what the marketing carrier is.

- If your ticket was issued on or before 31 March 2015, your baggage is determined by the operating carrier (the carrier operating the aircraft that you are flying on).

Carrier rules

Not sure which baggage allowance to use?

Our carrier rules help you work out which portion of your journey is considered of the highest importance. Using this as your guideline, you can determine your allowance for the entire trip.

If you are flying on one of the following flights you will need to read our carrier rules:

You are flying across multiple countries that have different ways of calculating baggage allowance (by piece or weight) and as such have different methods of working out extra baggage charges and more.

You are flying a mixed carrier flight – either a codeshare flight or with one of our partner carriers. You will know you are travelling a codeshare flight if you have two flight codes from different carriers on your ticket.

All your journey is from one airline carrier (i.e. Cathay Pacific) but you are in different classes for each flight leg and you need to know which flight class baggage weight you should choose for the entire trip.

For most flights, your baggage is determined by your ‘most significant carrier’

Passengers flying a multi-leg journey (either in different classes or on a codeshare flight) will need to work out their most significant carrier (MSC). This is the segment of the trip that is considered most significant by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and dictates the baggage policy for the entire journey.

What is a most significant carrier?

For travel that involves more than one carrier, the “Most Significant Carrier” concept helps determine whose baggage rules apply for the itinerary.

This is based on IATA Resolution 302, effective since 1 April 2011.

These rules are based on a "checked portion" concept, which refers to the point where baggage check-in occurs, until the next stopover where the passenger collects their baggage.

The Most Significant Carrier between these two points of travel, chosen according to IATA definitions, will define the baggage policy for the whole itinerary. Find out your Most Significant Carrier.

There are exceptions if your travel starts in the U.S. or Canada, or if you’re travelling to the U.S. or Canada as your final destination. Read baggage rules for flights with the ultimate ticketed origin/ destination within the U.S. or Canada.

Find out your most significant carrier

IATA splits world travel between three major tariff areas. These areas are further split into sub-areas as illustrated below. 

Find out your most significant carrier

IATA tariff area 1

North America, Central America, South America and Hawaii

Sub-tariff areas in tariff area 1

USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America, South America

IATA tariff area 2

Europe and The Middle East, Africa

Sub-tariff areas in tariff area 2

Europe, The Middle East, Africa

IATA tariff area 3

Asia, Guam and The Southwest Pacific

Sub-tariff areas in tariff area 3

Japan and Korea, Southeast Asia, The South Asian Sub-continent and Southwest Pacific

Your most significant carrier is defined as follows:

If your flight travels across an IATA tariff area then the first carrier that crosses a tariff area is your most significant carrier

If your flight does not cross an IATA tariff area, but travels across a sub-tariff area then the first carrier that crosses the sub-tariff area is your most significant carrier

If your flight crosses no IATA areas, but crosses an international border then the first carrier that crosses the international border is your most significant carrier

If your travel starts in the U.S. or Canada, or you're travelling to the U.S. or Canda as your final destination, the baggage provisions selected at the origin of your entire ticket will apply throughout your journey, regardless of stopovers (Canada effective 1 April 2015).

For the avoidance of doubt, the U.S. is considered to consist of the continental United States and the U.S. Territories – Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Wake Islands and Kiribati, including Canton and Gilbert Island.

For tickets issued on or after the 1st April, 2015:

All the below rules apply to the whole of North America, including the U.S. and Canada.

1. If your journey is to, from, or has the furthest checked point in the U.S. or Canada, you may use the rules of the first marketing carrier on the journey, provided that the first marketing carrier is specified on ATPCO’s (Airline Tariff Publishing Company) published lists of US DOT and CTA carriers. These are defined as carriers where general rules tariffs to/from the U.S. or Canada have been filed.

2. If the first marketing carrier is not specified on ATPCO’s published list of US DOT and CTA carriers, then the rules of the very next marketing carrier on the journey that is specified on ATPCO’s lists of US DOT and CTA carriers applies.

3. Once the first marketing carrier is identified (through steps 1 and 2 above), it is the first marketing carrier’s policy to opt for the rules of the most significant marketing carrier (MSC) for the journey or retain the first marketing carrier’s own baggage policy.

Cathay Pacific opts to use the most significant carrier rules.

For tickets issued on or before the 31st March, 2015:

The below rules apply to the U.S.

1. For journeys to and from the U.S., you may use the rules of the first marketing carrier on the journey, provided that the first marketing carrier is specified on ATPCO’s (Airline Tariff Publishing Company) published list of US DOT Carriers. These are defined as carriers where general rules tariffs to/from the US have been filed.

2. If the first marketing carrier is not specified on ATPCO’s published list of US DOT Carriers, then the rules of the very next marketing carrier on the journey that is specified on ATPCO’s list of US DOT Carriers applies.

3. Once the first marketing carrier is identified (through steps 1 and 2 above), it is the first marketing carrier’s policy to opt for the rules of the most significant marketing carrier (MSC) for the journey or retain the first marketing carrier’s own baggage policy.

Cathay Pacific opts to use the most significant carrier rules.

Next steps and baggage allowance

If your most significant carrier (MSC) is Cathay Pacific, then you would follow our rules for check in baggage, extra baggage charges, oversized cabin baggage, musical instruments and sports equipment

If your flight is not with Cathay Pacific and wholly with another airline, please check their baggage policy.

Examples of our carrier rules

Use these scenarios to guide you in working out your own most significant carrier. Just choose the situation which best aligns with your itinerary.

1.  A Cathay Pacific flight that qualifies as a ‘single journey’ under IATA’s rules explained above

Route: Paris > Hong Kong (transit) > Beijing

Sector

IATA tariff area

Operating carrier

Class

Paris – Hong Kong (Transit)

From tariff area 2 to tariff area 3

Cathay Pacific

Premium Economy

Hong Kong – Beijing

Within sub-tariff areas in area 3

Cathay Pacific

Economy

This involves travel between two IATA tariff areas. Paris to Hong Kong is the first sector of the flight that crosses IATA tariff areas in this itinerary (from Tariff Area 2 to 3), and therefore is the most significant carrier sector. This means Cathay Pacific’s baggage provision applies to this flight sector, and should apply for the rest of the entire itinerary.

In this case, if a passenger checks in his/her baggage in Paris within our Premium Economy baggage entitlement, no excess baggage charge will be applied for the entire itinerary, because the checked portion is from Paris to Beijing.

 

2.  A Cathay Pacific flight that qualifies as multiple journeys under IATA’s rules explained above

Route: Paris > Hong Kong (stopover) > Beijing

Sector

IATA tariff area

Operating carrier

Class

Paris – Hong Kong (Stopover)

From tariff area 2 to tariff area 3 Cathay Pacific Premium Economy

Hong Kong – Beijing

Within sub-tariff areas in area 3

Cathay Pacific

Economy

In this case, the passenger has flown Premium Economy from Paris to Hong Kong using their full baggage allowance for the first flight, and then stopped over in Hong Kong. When they come to check in their bags for a second time at Hong Kong airport, they will need to follow Economy class baggage entitlement for their Economy class flight from Hong Kong to Beijing.

There are two checked portions for this itinerary, which is Paris - Hong Kong and Hong Kong - Beijing.

When flying with a stopover with us, we would always advise following the lowest baggage allowance you have to avoid any extra charges.

 

3.  A Cathay Pacific flight to or from an airport in the United States and Canada

Route: Singapore > Hong Kong > Los Angeles

Sector

IATA tariff area

Operating carrier

Class

Singapore – Hong Kong

Within sub-tariff areas in area 3

Cathay Pacific

Economy

Hong Kong – Los Angeles Tariff area 3 to tariff area 1

Cathay Pacific

Premium Economy

If your journey from or to the US is wholly with Cathay Pacific (not a codeshare) then you may use our rules governing most significant carrier to work out which baggage policy to follow.

Since this is a journey between two IATA tariff areas, Hong Kong to Los Angeles is the first flight sector crossing IATA tariff areas in this journey (from tariff area 3 to 1) and therefore is the most significant carrier sector. It is this journey that governs the baggage provision for the entire journey – a Premium Economy class allowance.

Flights to, from and via America measure allowance via a piece system.

1. A codeshare flight operated by one of our partner airlines

Route: Hong Kong > Nadi

Sector

Marketing carrier

Operating carrier

Hong Kong - Nadi

Cathay Pacific

Fiji Airways

This is an example to illustrate the difference between flights purchased on and after April 1, 2015, when the amendment to the IATA Resolution 302 came into effect.

If you purchased your ticket on or after the 1 April, 2015, you would follow the policy of the marketing carrier. If the abbreviation code of your flight number is ‘CX’, we are the marketing carrier and you would follow our policy.

If you purchased your ticket on and before the 31st March 2015, you would follow the policy of the operating carrier. As the flight is operated by Fiji Airways, you would follow their baggage policy.

2. A mixed cabin class flight operated by either Cathay Pacific or any of our partner carriers

Route: Sydney > Hong Kong (transit) > London Heathrow

Sector

IATA tariff area

Operating carrier

Class

Sydney – Hong Kong (transit)

Across sub-tarrif areas in area 3

Qantas

Economy

Hong Kong – London Heathrow

From tariff area 3 to Tariff area 2 Cathay Pacific

Premium Economy

In this checked portion, Hong Kong to London is the first sector of the flight that crosses the IATA tariff areas, from area 3 to 2. This means this is the most significant carrier sector and the leg which determines the luggage allowance for the trip - in this case, Premium Economy class allowance.

1. A codeshare flight

Route: Hong Kong > Vancouver (transit) > Seattle

Sector

Marketing carrier

Operating carrier

Hong Kong – Vancouver (transit)

 Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific

Vancouver – Seattle

Cathay Pacific

Alaska Airlines

In this journey Hong Kong to Vancouver is the most significant carrier, therefore check in baggage allowance and extra baggage charges should follow our rules. This is because the ultimate destination is in the US – and the rules for first marketing carrier, which is Cathay Pacific, apply to the entire journey.

2. Mixed carrier flights

Route: Hong Kong > Shanghai (transit) > Los Angeles

Sector

Marketing carrier

Operating carrier

Hong Kong – Shanghai (transit)

Cathay Pacific

Dragonair

Shanghai – Los Angeles

American Airlines

American Airlines

In this journey, the first marketing carrier is Cathay Pacific, on the Hong Kong-Shanghai route. As Cathay Pacific opts to use the most significant carrier rules, check-in baggage allowance and extra baggage charges should follow that of American Airlines.