confused about transfers and luggage

Jan 9th, 2005, 01:01 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 7
confused about transfers and luggage

I recently purchased, through a travel agent, two tickets for a trip to Malta from the US, for next Ocotber.

I went with two tickets, because it was half the price, which was a considerable savings. The agent said it would not cause problems.

Travel involves going from Phila. to Heathrow,terminal 4 - three hour forty minute layover, and then on to Malta on AirMalta leaving from terminal 4.

The travel agent assures me I can check my luggage all the way through to Malta.
BA says they can't tell me that until I actually arrive at check in.

The travel agent tells me I have to clear customs at Heathrow, which involves removing my baggage (which I thought was checked through) and then rechecking it.

People on this forum have said that with two tickets I cannot check luggage all the way through (which makes sense to me) and that I will have to clear customs and immigration and then go to the arrivals desk of AirMalta and go through check in and security all over again.

I am wondering if I should pay the penalty and change my AirMalta ticket for a much later flight in the evening, or trust in Fate that things might work out.

I can also try to get by with carry-on luggage, although with the 13 lb limit imposed by BA it might be tight.

All advice greatly appreciated.
nwyman is offline  
Jan 9th, 2005, 01:42 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,877
You CAN check luggage through to your final destination as long as the airlines involved have interline agreements to transfer the luggage regardless of whether you have one ticket or separate tickets. I flew LAX-LHR-VIE on 2 separate tickets (Virgin and BA) and my bags were checked through to VIE. However, I don't know if such an agreement exists between Air Malta & BA. If it does, then you just need to show the BA check-in agent your Air Malta ticket. Try calling BA again.
Patty is offline  
Jan 9th, 2005, 01:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 117
If you are booked PHL - MLT on the same ticket with different airlines, then there should not be a problem in thru-checking your baggage.

However, you will be transiting through LHR, one of the most inefficient airports in the modern world and, even though you will be transiting through T4 all the way, if possible I would always advise to pick up your baggage at LHR and check in again for the KM flight. Baggage handling at LHR is purely dreadful.
cosmic_toadstool is offline  
Jan 9th, 2005, 02:03 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,659
It sounds like the person you talked to at BA isn't very knowledgeable. I have asked this question before and always got a straight answer. Patty is right, call BA again and ask if they have an agreement w/Air Malta.
P_M is offline  
Jan 9th, 2005, 03:50 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,877
Aside from the luggage transfer issue, you could run into possible problems if your BA flight from PHL is delayed and you miss your Air Malta flight. Since you're booked on 2 separate tickets, neither airline would be responsible for your missed connection. Each airline has different rules, but worst case scenario could be that you end up having to buy a new ticket to Malta from LHR. I would also contact Air Malta to see if they would be willing to accomodate you on a later flight in this case and keep that in mind in deciding whether to change to a later flight. 3 hours and 40 minutes is plenty of time under normal circumstances, but you never know what might happen.

I actually 'missed' my original BA connection but the Virgin check-in agent at LAX rebooked me on a later flight because they already knew at that point that they were at least 2 hours behind schedule.
Patty is offline  
Jan 9th, 2005, 05:10 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 776
If you don't have your Air Malta boarding pass, you will still have to go to the Air Malta departures desk after going through customs and immigration. But if your bags are checked through, you won't have to pick up your luggage. You will have to go back through security again to get to your Air Malta flight.
Don't know if Heathrow T4 has a transfer desk that can get you your Air Malta boarding pass without having to go out and then back in again. Might be worth looking into.
nibblette is offline  

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