Most Significant Carrier

For customer journeys that involve more than one carrier, International Air Transport Association (IATA) Resolution 302 governs baggage allowances and charges, using a concept of the Most Significant Carrier (MSC) to determine whose baggage rules apply for the itinerary.

These rules are based on a checked baggage concept, which is from when a bag is checked in until it is picked up, as such there may be various carriers allowance and charges applied across a customer’s entire ticket. For tickets issued on or before 31 March 2015 under Resolution 302, the Operating Carrier is generally the MSC, especially when they are operated by a partner airline (code-share flights).

For tickets issued on or after 01 April 2015 under Resolution 302, the Marketing Carrier is generally the MSC, including for flights operated by a partner airline (code-share flights).

How is the Most Significant Carrier (MSC) determined?

There are a number of steps in determining which carrier is considered the MSC based on the 3 IATA areas and the sub areas within each of those areas and where travel takes place for the checked baggage journey.

The following IATA areas and Sub areas should be used with the examples below outlining the steps to determine which carrier’s allowances and excess charges apply.

  • Area 1: North America, Central and South America, Hawaii
    • USA, Canada, Mexico
    • Caribbean
    • Central America
    • South America
  • Area 2: Europe, Middle East
    • Europe
    • Middle East
    • Africa
  • Area 3: Asia, Guam, Southwest Pacific
    • Japan, Korea
    • Southeast Asia
    • South Asian Subcontinent
    • Southwest Pacific
Step 1

The first carrier crossing from one IATA Area to another.
Unless specified assume that the sectors shown are connecting flights and considered a single checked baggage journey.

Examples:

Example 1 - Carrier YY is the Most Significant Marketing Carrier.

IATA Area 3 to IATA Area 3

XX

IATA Area 3 to IATA Area 2

YY is the carrier crossing between IATA areas

Example 2 - Carrier YY is the Most Significant Marketing Carrier for the departing journey and carrier XX for the return journey.

Departing flights

Departing flights

IATA Area 3 to IATA Area 3

XX

IATA Area 3 to IATA Area 2

YY is the carrier crossing between IATA areas

Returning flights

Returning flights

IATA Area 2 to IATA Area 3

XX is the carrier crossing between IATA areas

IATA Area 3 to IATA Area 3

ZZ

Exception to step 1: when travel across Areas 1, 2 & 3 in this order only. In this instance the carrier that crosses between area 1 & 2 applies. Carrier XX is the Most Significant Marketing Carrier.

IATA Area 1 to IATA Area 2

XX is the carrier crossing between IATA areas 1 & 2

IATA Area 2 to IATA Area 3


YY

OR

Step 2

The first carrier crossing from one IATA Sub-area to another (applies when travel is within an IATA Area).

Example 1 - Carrier XX is the Most Significant Marketing Carrier.

Southwest Pacific to Southeast Asia

XX is the carrier crossing between IATA sub areas

Southeast Asia to Southeast Asia

YY

OR

Step 3

The first carrier flying an international sector (for travel within a Sub Area).

Example 1 - Carrier XX is the Most Significant Marketing Carrier.

XX is the carrier on the first international sector within the sub area

YY

Example 2 - Carrier YY is the Most Significant Marketing Carrier.

XX

YY is the carrier on the first international sector within the sub area

There are two exceptions to the MSC rule:

  • Starting or ending in the USA or Canada: If your single-ticketed journey starts or ends in the USA or Canada (this does not include journeys that only pass through the USA or Canada), the 'first marketing carrier' decides the allowance and charges that will apply for the entire journey. They can apply their airline's rules or those of the 'most significant carrier'. Where Air New Zealand is the 'first marketing carrier' we always apply the most significant carrier's rules, which may not be our own. For return trips, if you travel in a different class or have different fare products in each direction (such as Business Premier one way and Economy the other or Seat and Seat + Bag), the same carrier's rules apply but the allowances may differ as they will be based on the applicable fare types and classes of travel purchased in each direction

  • Starting in Brazil: For international travel that starts in Brazil, local regulations require all passengers to be given an allowance of two pieces of luggage up to 32kg (70lb) each for the entire ticketed journey, regardless of stopovers.