ARTA Canada Reminds Agents About
New Interline Baggage Rules Now in Effect 

Caution and Care Required as Data Launch May Not Be Complete

Toronto, 03 April 2011: Canada's Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA Canada) advised its members today to proceed with great care and caution in verifying the accuracy of the new IATA Interline Automated Baggage Rules which  became effective last Friday, 01 April 2011.

In June 2010, ARTA Canada advised its members that the Airline Tariff Publishing Company (ATPCO) had partnered with IATA to develop an industry standard solution to help airlines clearly and accurately communicate their interline baggage rules to passengers at the time of purchase. As part of IATA's Automated Carrier Baggage Rules project, ATPCO built and hosted a global database of all interline baggage allowance and charges. Airlines submit their baggage rules and restrictions to ATPCO, and this data is then distributed to agents and passengers through distribution channels or carrier check-in systems.

ATPCO and IATA encouraged airlines to submit their baggage rules to the database by September 2010 to meet the requirements of IATA Resolution 302, which took effect 01 April 2011.

However, in a statement, IATA has advised that:

"Nearly all GDSs are technically ready. But we expect that not all of them will be live on 1 April. In addition, some airlines will not have submitted or released their baggage rules to ATPCO by the deadline. Hence, we will not have full industry baggage automation on 1 April. But we do not expect major issues or operational disruptions ... airlines should provide complete instructions to their travel agents on their baggage rules, policies and charges on and after 1 April".

ARTA Canada, therefore, recommends that agents be extremely careful to check with air carriers, distribution systems, host agencies, online web sites, and other air travel selling tools to assure that interline baggage information is correctly displayed and included, where applicable, on all related passenger documentation, including e-tickets.

"ARTA Canada welcomes the new baggage rules system, but additional care at this stage seems prudent. While interline itineraries do not represent the majority of air travel journeys, there are enough such sales to warrant caution by travel agents until the system fully matures. Assuring that passengers have been correctly informed will avoid unpleasant surprises at check-in and eliminate disputes among airlines, agents, and their customers", said ARTA Canada President Bruce Bishins, CTC.

Overview of IATA Resolution 302  (replaced IATA Resolutions 300/301 on 01 April 2011)

1) Baggage provisions are defined as free baggage allowance rules and baggage charges.

2) For the purposes of baggage provisions selection, the following 4 step process should apply for interline journeys:

a) Step 1 - If the published baggage provisions among all participating carriers are the same; these provisions will apply.

b) Step 2 - Where the one or more published baggage provisions differs between participating carriers, apply any common provisions and where provisions differ, apply the published baggage provisions of the Most Significant Carrier (MSC - see definition below). In case of code share flights this will be the Operating Carrier, unless that carrier publishes a rule stipulating that it will be the Marketing Carrier).

c) Step 3: If the MSC does not publish baggage provisions for the journey concerned, apply the published baggage provisions of the carrier accepting the baggage at check-in.

d) Step 4: If the carrier accepting the baggage at check-in does not publish baggage provisions for the interline journey concerned, apply the published baggage provisions of each operating airline sector-by-sector.

Most Significant Carrier (MSC)

3) the MSC is:

a) For travel between two or more IATA areas, the carrier performing carriage on the first sector that crosses from one area to another. Exception: IATA Area 123 journeys only, the carrier providing carriage on the first sector that crosses between IATA Area 1 and IATA Area 2.

b) For travel between IATA sub-areas, the carrier performing carriage on the first sector that crosses from one sub-area to another.

c) For travel within IATA sub-areas, the carrier performing carriage on the first international sector.

About ARTA Canada 

ARTA Canada is the largest non-profit federally incorporated professional association of travel retailers in Canada, the members of which consist exclusively of travel agencies and travel agents. In addition to advocating fair and equitable treatment of travel consumers, ARTA Canada represents the commercial and strategic interests of its member travel agencies and travel agents in a variety of national and provincial domains including regulatory and legislative matters, automation, technology, sales and marketing, and distribution.

ARTA Canada is the strategic partner in Canada of the U.S.-based Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA). For complete details about ARTA Canada's new $99 membership campaign or to join ARTA Canada, including secure payment on our web site, please visit www.artacanada.ca/join.


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