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Most Significant Carrier (MSC) - For Multi-carrier Journey

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The major change under this new rule Baggage Provisions Selection Criteria (Resolution 302) is to switch from following the baggage travel allowance and charges set and agreed on by the industry to following the allowance and charges of the Most Significant Carrier (MSC) in multi-carrier journeys. In addition, journeys originating from or with the furthest point being in the United States will be subject to another definition of MSC.

Most Significant Carrier (MSC) is:

The first carrier crossing the IATA Tariff Area (for travel across one Tariff Area).

Example:

Sector IATA Tariff Area Carrier
Sydney - Hong Kong (no stop-over) Tariff Area 3 to Tariff Area 3 Qantas
Hong Kong - London Tariff Area 3 to Tariff Area 2 Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific is the Most Significant Carrier.

      OR

The first carrier crossing the IATA Sub-area (for travel within a Tariff Area).

Example:

Sector IATA Sub Area Carrier
Sydney - Singapore (no stop-over) Southwest Pacific to Southeast Asia Qantas
Singapore - Hong Kong Southeast Asia to Southeast Asia Cathay Pacific

Qantas is the Most Significant Carrier.

      OR

The first carrier flying an international sector (for travel within a Sub Area).

Example:

Sector Carrier
Phuket - Bangkok (no stop-over) Thai Airways
Bangkok - Hong Kong Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific is the Most Significant Carrier.

Example:

Sector Carrier
Singapore - Bangkok (no stop-over) Singapore Airlines
Bangkok - Hong Kong Cathay Pacific

Singapore Airlines is the Most Significant Carrier.

 

IATA has divided the world into three Tariff Areas but within a Tariff Area there are a few sub areas:

IATA Tariff Areas Sub areas
North America, Central and South America, Hawaii USA, Canada, Mexico
Caribbean
Central America
South America
Europe, Middle East
Europe
Middle East
Africa

Asia, Guam, Southwest Pacific
Japan, Korea
Southeast Asia
South Asian Subcontinent
Southwest Pacific

The US DOT defines international journeys to/from the US as travel that contains more than one country (international travel) with the origin, destination or furthest checked point being in the US. Exceptions imposed by the Department of Transportation of the US Government will be in place.

The US, for the purposes of baggage selection criteria, consists of the continental United States and US Territories - Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Wake Islands and Kiribati, including Canton and Gilbert Island.

  1. For journeys to/from the US, the rules of the first marketing carrier on the journey apply, provided that the first marketing carrier is specified on ATPCO’s (Airline Tariff Publishing Company) published list of US DOT Carriers (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 apply.

  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 for the rules of the MSC.)

For instance:

Boston - Los Angeles - Hong Kong - Los Angeles - Boston Exception applies
Hong Kong - Vancouver - New York City - Hong Kong Exception applies
Hong Kong - Los Angeles - Toronto - Hong Kong Exception does NOT apply

If the exception applies:

  1. The MSC must be the Marketing Carrier for codeshare flights.
    Example: Los Angeles - Hong Kong travel with tickets bought from American Airlines but the flight is operated by Cathay Pacific.
    American Airlines is the Most Significant Carrier.
  2. The whole journey should be taken into account when determining the MSC even if the traveller checks out their baggage at one point during the journey.