How Do Connecting Flights With Baggage Transfers Work?


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How connecting flights with baggage transfers work

Have you ever had a connecting flight with a baggage transfer? The only time you have to get your checked bag and re-check it is when you have to go through customs and you have a connecting flight. You go through customs in the first country you land in.

For instance, if you fly from Paris (CDG) to Philadelphia (PHL) to Los Angeles(LAX), you would go through customs in PHL, get your bags then drop them off almost immediately at the next conveyer belt and proceed to your flight. More than likely you will have to go through security again before you can catch your flight to LAX.

Now if you were doing that flight in reverse, going from LAX-PHL-CDG do you have to go get your bags in PHL? No, you do not.  If you check a bag and you have a connecting flight in the U.S. but your destination is in the U.S or a foreign country, you do not have to go and get your checked bags until you arrive in your destination.


If you fly from JFK-CLT-SEA you do not have to get your bags in CLT. You will pick up your bags in SEA.  Does that make sense?

if you get duty free before you re-check your bag, make sure to put your purchases in your checked luggage as you will not be allowed to take it through security.

PLEASE NOTE: Make sure that when the ticket agent asks, “Where are you going?” you say the FINAL destination, not your connecting one.

What some lazy ticket agents are now doing is what’s called ‘short-checking’ your bag which means instead of doing the work to get you to your final destination, they will check your bag to your connecting destination.  This means you have to go get your bag, go back up to ticketing and re-check your bag then go through security in order to board your flight.

This is pure laziness and do not let a ticket agent do that to you. There have been passengers that have missed their connecting flights because ticket agents are making passengers go through those extra steps.

Have you ever had an issue with your connecting bags? 



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Some people travel. Roni IS travel. For over 20 years she has been traveling the world and now shares her unique insight with her worldwide audience on her blog, Whether you have never gotten on a plane or are a seasoned traveler, the expertise and insider knowledge she shares on her blog will help you make your travels an adventure. No where else can you find the uniquely helpful ins and out given to you by someone who has lived overseas for 4 years, speaks fluent English, French and Spanish, and works for a major airline. And guess what? She’s also a licensed elementary teacher and has an MBA.


  1. What happens when you fly to a destination but have layovers in multiple countries? Let’s say Chicago to London to Ethiopia to South Africa? Do you need to get your luggage in each country?

  2. Great post! I found it because my family is going to attempt the following: we will be returning to the US from AMS after 6 months abroad. We currently have a flight into ORD (4 hours from our house) connecting to CVG (2.5 hours from our house). Rather than sit in ORD for our 4 hour layover, we would like to rent a car and drive directly home. From my recent conversation with United, this will work only if we retrieve our luggage in ORD (as it will be checked to CVG). Based on my experience and your post, I’m 95% sure we’ll get our luggage in ORD and be able to skip out on the leg to CVG. Do you think it’s worth the risk? If for some reason we fail to retrieve our luggage in ORD, we’re only out the rental car cancellation fee. I would appreciate your thoughts in case I’m missing a critical flaw in my plan!

  3. I’m travelling to the US every year and when returning, I’m flying from LAS to LAX by Delta and LAX to DXB by Emirates. For many years, Delta used to checked in my baggage up to my final destination Dubai. But last year they refused to checked in the bags up to Dubai, saying that they don’t have any agreement with EK anymore. Is that true? or just another lazy agent! It’s really a hassle especially if I have to drag a heavy bag.


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