My husband and I booked an international itinerary (KIX-HNL-SEA) using American Airlines FF miles. For this itinerary, we had to use Hawaiian Air (a partner). American FF rules allow passengers to a stopover, so we arranged to do so in HNL. Under the baggage disclosure (contained in the email itinerary sent to us by American), there were to be no baggage fees for the entire trip. The text reads as follows:
Baggage charges for your itinerary will be governed by Hawaiian Airlines
BAG ALLOWANCE KIX-SEA-02P/HA
1st CHECKED BAG FEE-KIXSEA-JPY0/HA
2nd CHECKED BAG FEE-KIXSEA-JPY0/HA
(BTW, I should note that airlines travelling to and from Japan provide for 2 free checked bags. What a great difference from travel within the USA!)
Not good enough? So, I checked out Hawaiian's baggage fees for International Check-In Luggage, which is on their website. Here is the relevant language:
"International baggage rules will apply for the entire trip, including domestic segments regardless of stopover, providing the itinerary includes at least one ticketed international point." (emphasis added)
"Regardless of stopover" should mean that even if a passenger elects to stopover (in Honolulu, in this case), the 2 free bag international rule will continue to apply. "Regardless of stopover" language appears to be intended to preserve, not limit, this benefit.
There is a chart of fees covering travel to North America from Japan (that is, from KIX (Osaka) to SEA (Seattle): the chart says 1st and 2nd bags, no charge.
Even though the rules are pretty clear, we were charged $120 for 4 bags at the airport $25 + $25 + $35 +35). Even when I pointed out the language from their website, the agent's position was that if a stopover was involved, it turned the HNL-SEA segment to a "domestic" one, which meant the imposition of baggage fees--a position which is totally contradicted by their own stated policy.
DOT instituted final rules effective January 2012, requiring airlines to post accurate disclosure of their baggage fees on their website, as well as on e-ticket confirmations.
I filed a complaint with the so-called Consumer Affairs Office at Hawaiian, as well as with the DOT. I will update as the case progresses.