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Normally when you have to go through customs in the US/Canada to catch a connecting flight, you have to pick up your baggage, and you re-check it right after clearing customs.

As a follow-up to this question, is it possible to take your bags landside and re-check them later if you have sufficiently long layover? If you haven't used up your baggage allowance for the flight, could you even check an additional bag?

[edit] I have added the USA and Canada tags. Let me know whether there are other countries where you pick up and re-check your baggage upon immigration with a connecting flight.

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You are asking about this in Canada and USA only.. right? –  MeNoTalk Nov 19 '13 at 14:32
    
Sometimes you don't pick up your baggage. Check with your airline company. It depends on your point of departure and destination, and the airline company (as weird as it sounds). –  spakendralo man Nov 19 '13 at 14:42
    
@HaLaBi: Yes - unless there are other countries where you pick up and re-check your baggage upon immigration –  Jonas Nov 19 '13 at 14:48
    
@spakendraloman: I am aware of this. That's why I explicitly mentioned US/Canada. –  Jonas Nov 19 '13 at 14:49
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Keep in mind that for flights from Canada and a small number of other international locations (eg, some flights from Ireland) you do NOT collect your bags when connecting to a domestic flight in the US. Google for "us preclearance" for more details –  Doc Nov 19 '13 at 21:57

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

As long as you have spare baggage allowance, you remain landside, and you allow sufficient time, you shouldn't have any problems checking an additional bag. You might get a query, but as long as there's time and spare allowance, it ought to be fine. (If you've used your allowance and want to pay to check another bag for only part way, you may have more issues as they may struggle to price it, YMMV)

There's a few times when I've actually done this very thing, almost always involving duty free and an onward domestic flight. What I'll often do is put a rucksack or similar at the top of my suitcase, which is otherwise full, then buy some duty free before boarding my US-bound flight. On arrival, I collect my bag before customs, clear customs, then find a spare bit of space before the re-check counter. Here, I take out the rucksack, take out some clothes that don't mind getting bashed about, and re-pack the suitcase with the duty free safely in the middle. (We have a question on that topic!). I drop the suitcase off. Then, I head over to the counters, show them my boarding pass, and ask to check a small bag. They scan the boarding pass, check the allowance, print a new tag for the rucksack, and away I go.

However, the last time I did this, they gave me a tag for my rucksack, then sent me over to the baggage re-check area to drop it off. This meant queueing up with everyone else, and having the baggage handlers take the piss out of me for wanting to re-check such a small bag...!

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