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In January I am Flying:

Manchester -> Amsterdam -> Quito

KLM no longer include luggage from long haul so I've paid £44 for 23kg luggage.

My return flight is:

Quito -> Bogota -> Paris -> Manchester

The first leg of the flight is operated by Avianca, the rest by Air France. This is a one ticket flight so my luggage will be booked all the way to Manchester but I can't pre purchase it online. I get a message saying that I can only purchase this at the airport with no online discount.

Is there a reason for this? I'm worried about how much it will be, does anyone know a way to work a rough price out?

  • Call the airline company. I did that when I had a similar issue an they solved it. I payed online on their website using a link they provided. However depending on who you booked with it might not be an issue at all since the policy of the company you booked thought usually applies. – Indra Oct 31 '18 at 21:23
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Is there a reason for this?

Yes, it's very straightforward.

In the "old days" you'd buy one "combined" ticket from one source. These days it's quite common that sites like Kayak, rather ingeniously "put together" various tickets from various sources.

(I recently had to urgently fly to London from the Americas, and saved - I shit you not - three thousand five hundred dollars by doing this. That is not a joke, like well over half a case of Margaux - ! :) )

As you have discovered, the precise downside of such tickets is that:

the conditions vary drastically on the various legs. They are not harmonized.

In the old days, when you about a "combined" ticket, they would be harmonized. So even if your say "third" leg was on Airline X which normally only allows 6kg carryon, Airline X would make an exception (knowing they were part of a "combined" ticket sale) and they'd offer the 12kg that the other airlines in the combined ticket offer.

Similarly you might get free meals and booze on one leg, have to pay for tapwater on the next, etc. You may be able to specify and/or buy seat positions on one leg, but have no option to do so on another leg. You may have convenient online checkin on one leg, but not on another. Etc.

This is indeed the specific, dramatic downside of these "put together" ticket purchases. Like, if you were to ask "So what's the downside of these very cheap fares that are glued together?" the answer is, indeed as you have found out "all the baggage / seat / etc conditions are randomly different throughout."

There is no way around it.

"does anyone know a way to work a rough price out?"

You'd have to just state the airline and leg, and someone who's done it would know.

  • Going to try call the airline like someone suggested in the comments to try pay before or at least get an idea of the cost. Thanks for the interesting answer regarding the reason why :) – BritishSam Nov 1 '18 at 9:29
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    This is not what kayak calls a hacker fare – ajd Nov 1 '18 at 15:02
  • @ajd - fare enough .. why not explain ?? – Fattie Nov 1 '18 at 17:24
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    A "hacker fare" means that the customer buys two separate tickets, but the OP said that their travel is on a single ticket. – ajd Nov 1 '18 at 17:29
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    What you say about "hacker fares" contradicts kayak.com/news/hacker-fare: "How do you book a Hacker Fare on KAYAK? After searching for a flight, you’ll see “Hacker Fare” clearly identified under the price. Simply select the “View Deal” button to start the process. Just be sure that prices for both tickets are available before booking. To do this, simply open each booking page in a new tab and double-check the price and availability. Book and you’re good to go." – ajd Nov 1 '18 at 18:19
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I am somewhat sceptical that they really will check your luggage through all the way from Quito to Manchester. The airlines are unrelated and you might find yourself having to retrieve your luggage at Bogota and re-check in. This could take hours and you might find yourself in need of a Colombian visa.

For what its worth, I tried a booking with https://www.avianca.com for Quito -> Bogota on a random date in January, and the indications were that Avianca have a free 23kg luggage allowance. You probably should double check this by giving Avianca a call with the exact details of your flight and booking ref.

You should also check with Air France, if they have a free luggage policy on the Bogota -> Paris -> Manchester legs, and if not, can you buy that in advance?

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    Even "unrelated" airlines routinely interline baggage on single-ticket itineraries. Both airlines here are flag carriers; if they interline enough that one of them can issue a through ticket for the other one's flight, there is no reason they would not be able to exchange bags in Bogota, one of the largest airports in South America and Avianca's main hub. – Henning Makholm Oct 31 '18 at 18:44
  • Why the downvote? My answer was more of a suggestion to the OP to check these things by contacting the airlines. I also stated a possible problem that he could encounter if the airlines were not able to interline baggage in the way the OP had assumed. – Nick Oct 31 '18 at 18:55
  • I was on live chat with Air France and they told me it would be checked all the way to Manchester if its on a single ticket, it is on a single ticket. – BritishSam Nov 1 '18 at 9:30
  • Nick, I am pretty sure they will check the baggage through, at least. That being said anything can happen, even if you do phone to check :O – Fattie Nov 1 '18 at 10:30

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