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On every leg of my itinerary (below), I checked in one bag (well under the weight limit).

I was not charged a baggage fee on the 1st leg (DTW-LAX on AA). And of course I wasn't charged a fee on the 2nd or 3rd legs (SFO-SIN, SIN-IAD, both on United).

However, I was charged a $25 baggage for the 4th and final leg (IAD-DTW, US Airways). Why? Might this possibly have been a mistake and should I not have paid?

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    You usually get a free bag on international flights, or when connecting to/from international flights, so that explains why SFO-HKG-SIN and SIN-NRT-IAD had no fee. I'm not surprised you had to pay on IAD-CLT-DTW, but what confuses me is how you didn't pay a fee for DTW-DFW-LAX. Do you have status on AA, or an AA-branded credit card? – Nate Eldredge Sep 4 '14 at 1:45
  • No I don't have any status on AA nor do I have an AA-branded CC. I have done a similar thing several times before (involving US flights + international flights on same itinerary) and never did I have to pay to check in a bag on the US legs. I was therefore caught by surprise this time. – Kenny LJ Sep 4 '14 at 17:23
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US Airways has the rule that you get a free bag on international flights, but not on domestic flights. You will also get a free bag on domestic flights that happen within 23 hours after an international one. Since before your last leg, there is a break of >24h, you got charged for the first bag.

That explains why you had to pay for the last leg. Why you did not have to pay for the first leg is not clear to me, but there may be many reasons (ticket booked a long time ago when rules were different, AA has different rules in general, does or did not have the 23h rule, etc ...).

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  • Could you cite a source for the 24hr rule? – Kenny LJ Sep 4 '14 at 13:00
  • Unfortunately, no. I ran into the same problem once with US airways - the check-in machine wanted me to charge for one bag on a domestic flight after an international one, which I bevlieved to be wrong. I went to the check-in counter, where the US employee spoke back to her manager about that, if I remember correctly. The manager then explained that charging USD 25 was correct in this case, because of a break of two days in my itinery and stated the rule to me. I can't remember whether it was a 24h or 23h rule, though. – DCTLib Sep 5 '14 at 8:09
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    Oh, I just had a look. It is actually stated here (at the moment): usairways.com/en-US/traveltools/baggage/baggagepolicies.html - open the last drop-down information box "Stopping between flights for more than 24 hours?". Apparently, it is a "more than 24 hours" rule. – DCTLib Sep 5 '14 at 8:12

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