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I have flight where I need to move from airplane to another. Do I need to check out my luggage and then check it in again, or will it be automaticaly transfered to another plane?

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It is often termed "being in transit" – Simon Mar 11 '13 at 9:31
up vote 15 down vote accepted

That depends. If you booked the flights together at the same time, luggage will usually be "checked through" to your final destination. If you booked them separately, especially if it's different airlines, you'll probably have to pick up your luggage and check it in again.

In any case, the airline employee at your original checkin can tell you whether your luggage is checked through - they'll often ask you themselves to confirm whether you want that.

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This is missing important information. For example, when connecting from an international flight to a domestic flight in the US, you must collect your luggage and take it through customs yourself; you then hand it back and it's put on your connecting flight. – David Richerby Mar 7 at 6:33
I ran into this problem in October (rechecking bags) when fyling from Britain to the US. I was flying from London Heathrow to Dallas and then onto Portland (OR). Tickets were booked through British AIrways as Heathrow -> Portland, and when checking in I asked "Will these bags be transferred automatically?", I was told "yes" by the BA attendant but when I arrived in Portland my bags were still in Dallas (though thankfully these were put on the next flight and brought to us the next day). – MistaGiggles Mar 7 at 15:41
@MistaGiggles -- the attendant was an idiot. Did he think that the Dallas-Portland flight was going to pull up to the International terminal to let you and your bags go through customs? Every country, every route, every passenger, you must carry your own bags through customs at the very first stop in your destination country. – Malvolio Mar 8 at 7:11

Usually, an airline checks luggage to the final desination when transfers occurs. On a same booking, as already said, there are many chances your luggage goes on through to the next plane.

Exceptions :

  • Separate reservations on different airlines

  • Airport change during a transfer : you will need to bring the luggage with you during the required ground transportation

  • Transfer from an international inbound flight to a domestic outbound flight : since this is your entry point into the country, you will have to pick your bags, clear the customs then re-check them right after. This is the case at least in the USA, and depends on the countries. In Europe Schengen space, it did not happen when flying MIA -> FRA -> CDG although FRA is the entry point into Schengen space.

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In Schengen customs will be cleared at your final destination. Even small airports have customs officers (at least on call). Immigration is different as you need to go through it in your first point of entry. – neo Mar 11 '13 at 15:48

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