General Question

croberts119's avatar

Is it possible to check a bag through to the destination of a different itinerary?

Asked by croberts119 (29points) March 3rd, 2020

I need to check bags from a flight (intinerary ABC) going to Paris on Austrian Airlines purchased from one travel company (comp X) to my follow on flight (itinerary DEF) purchased from a different company (comp Y) on Air France in Paris. Is there any way that I can get the bags to follow me through the baggage system so that I do not have to go through customs in Paris to get my checked bags from Austrian only to go recheck them again with Air France?

Is it possible that when I check in for itinerary ABC with Austrian to have my luggage also tagged with my separate itinerary with Air France itinerary DEF so that I do not need to retrieve my bags in Paris and go back through security and the check in process again? I want to be able to board my flight in Cairo Egypt and have my bags on the Austrian flight follow me through my layovers in Vienna, Paris and then moved to Air France on a separate itinerary to Atlanta and to my home in San Antonio Texas. Is this possible or will I need to do the whole customs, immigration and flight check in non-sense again in Paris when I finish one itinerary and start the next. (These flights are all going to take place in the span of about 19 hours or so.)

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8 Answers

Zaku's avatar

Well, in many cases, hopefully, yes, you would tell the first airline when you check your bags with them, that your final destination is not Paris but Atlanta, and they will try to do exactly what you want, and arrange for the bags to arrive in Atlanta. That’s the normal thing to want to do, if you are not spending any time in Paris, but just using the airport to change flights.

However, it does not always work out that way. There are several potential problems, such as:

1) Not all airlines will coordinate with each other this way. I expect however that Austrian Airlines would usually be willing to coordinate with Air France, as they’re both European airlines and doubtless share a lot of traffic in Europe.

2) The greater risk, I think, is that you are traveling through another country, from Egypt. Some/many international transfers will want you to go through customs when you land.

3) I have heard that in some cases, there may also be visa requirements for the intermediate country, depending on your nationality.

For the above reasons, I would strongly suggest you contact Austrian Airlines, and perhaps also Air France, and ask them to tell you how this will work in your specific case.


4) Consider that if your first flight is delayed, and/or if you do have to go through customs in Paris and that takes a long time, you may end up stuck in the Paris airport until they can find another flight for you to Atlanta.

Here is an article with some more information on the subject.

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JLeslie's avatar

This can be tricky. Are the airlines cooperating airlines? For instant I can use my American Airlines points on Japan Air, because those airlines cooperate. In that case you might have a better shot of the airlines being set up to work together.

Possibly, the particular airport you are changing flights at might be part of this equation too.

I would definitely call each airline twice and see what they say. I wouldn’t trust one answer from one person.

If you are changing at a large airport you might have to deal with changing terminals, although, often all international is from the same terminal, so that might help, but if you need to clear customs, you will be in one part of the airport, and then your next airline check in might be in another terminal altogether if it’s a large airport. Plus, if you miss your connection the burden is on you.

I would try to use “sister” airlines that work together and book it all on one ticket if possible. Most airlines require your bags to fly with you, it might be a regulation.

If the price difference is so great that it makes sense to book two different airlines give yourself plenty of time on the connection. You would need minimum 4.5 hours I think if you need to clear customs. Even that sounds risky considering most countries now ask international flyers to arrive at the airport minimum 3 hours ahead of their flight.

Within Europe (Vienna and Paris) you might have better luck since it is EU countries, someone here from Europe might know better how that works, but you still have the American flight to consider even if the change in Europe works out easily.

zenvelo's avatar

I would doubt that you can check a bag all the way through, for security reasons,especially if you bought your itinerary from two different companies.

Airlines have to make sure that the traveler is on the same plane as the bag. The bomb on Pan Am 103 was in an unaccompanied bag fed through an interline transfer. Since the destruction of Flight 103, airlines no longer allow that practice.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

When I’ve gone through Customs; I had to take my bags back through security and check them for the next leg. That would be Atlanta

If you are going to be in Paris for an extended period of time (in the USA it is 5 hours layover) you’ll be required to take your luggage back through check-in and you’ll have to go through too.

gorillapaws's avatar

After 9/11 there was a rule put in place that passengers had to travel with their bags (to help prevent passengers from checking bombs and then not boarding the plane). I’m not sure if this rule has changed/gone away since then.

Also @Tropical_Willie is exactly correct that you need to be with your bags when you go though customs.

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