I am flying internationally on China Southern Airlines in a month, and being new to international travel and multi-destination trips, I have a couple questions. My route is as follows: Phoenix to Los Angeles (3 hr layover), Los Angeles to Guangzhou (24 hr layover), Guangzhou to Denpasar Bali (stay there for 2 weeks), Denpasar Bali to Brisbane. Then on my return several weeks later it is basically the reverse of the route. I am wondering at which airports will I need to check my baggage in, and which will my baggage be carried over? Will I need to pay each time my baggage is checked, or does the payment apply for the trip each way? (i.e. if I have to pick up my luggage in Guangzhou for the 24 hr layover, will I need to pay again to check it on my flight to Bali?)
The question for baggage depends on how you book your ticket; if it is from one airline for the entire trip, or is it multiple airlines (that you booked individually).
The easy case is if you booked one ticket, which means you have one carrier, in that case, for your outbound trip:
- At Phoenix you will check in your bags. You will receive them in Denpasar Bali.
- On your next flight from Denpasar Bali to Brisbane, you will have to check in your bags again.
For your return trip:
- You will check in your bags at Brisbane and collect them at Denpasar Bali (assuming you are again staying over for 2 weeks).
- You will then check in your bags at Denpasar Bali and collect them in Los Angeles; since this is the first port of entry into the US.
- You will then drop your bags at the designated counter in LAX for your flight to Phoenix.
You only pay to have your bags checked if they are above the weight or item limit for your itinerary; which is dictated by the class of travel and the airline you are using. There is no universal rule, except that the airline that you are using for the majority of the trip - its fare conditions will apply for the remainder of your trip.
If you have booked multiple tickets on different airlines, then each time you switch airlines, you may have to collect your bags. Some airlines have interline agreements (basically, an agreement between two different airlines to accept each others' checked bags). Chances are high that you will have to pay extra fees if your baggage exceeds the allowance for that leg of your journey.
The best course of action is to ask the agent when you first start your journey, they will have the most up-to-date information.