Jamaica is Neither Domestic Nor International. Discuss.

US Airways has long considered Jamaica (and other Caribbean Islands) to be domestic flights.  While this prevents free lounge access for first class and other perks, it allowed the biggest perk of all (in my opinion)–unlimited upgrades to the Caribbean for elites.

Even Silvers (RIP US Airways’ nomenclatures) could almost guarantee they’d be sitting in first class when taking a flight to the Caribbean.


This causes an unusual case with baggage fees though.

US Airways does not charge baggage fees for international flights.

The American Aviator credit card’s benefit waives domestic baggage fees.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

For checked-bag purposes, the Caribbean is treated like domestic flights.

For credit card purposes, the Caribbean is treated like an international flight.

So if you are an American Aviator card holder and you spend the year traveling internationally and domestically, the Caribbean, Mexico & Central American will be the only places you’ll ever have to pay a fee for your first checked bag.

Mostly because of this weird intentional/domestic distinction/non-distinction.

Of course, if you have status, you don’t have to worry about this.  But a lot of people getting these credit cards are getting them to waive their baggage fees because they don’t have status.

And my guess is, the non-frequent flyers (who are still traveling enough to make this card worth it) may be more likely to be going to Jamaica or another Caribbean island, because non-frequent flyers tend to be vacation flyers.

In Jamaica, there was a line of people at the US Airways counter confused by this benefit.  This was the first time they had to pay a checked bag fee for their baggage.  And as long as they hold their American Aviator cards (and as long as it keeps this benefit), the Caribbean will be the only time they’ll have to pay checked bag fees.

Coffee Talk Jamaica

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. The classification is obviously just set to the most convenient for the airline. I’ve been knocked around a few times the classification of International for lounge purposes (I gave in and got a membership eventually).

    I am curious though – are you implying that upgrades are affected by the international status of the destination? I fly regularly to MEX and YVR, upgrading on US and AA flights as a Chairman…err, ExP, has been the same as a domestic for me thus far during the integration.

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      Ones on US prior to the merger were, I mean. But those specifically have always been the same. MEX and YVR were “domestic”. (And in that same vein, Hawaii was “international”!)

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