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I'll be traveling to Memphis, Tennessee form New Delhi, India via Qatar Airways.

The itinerary would be: New Delhi <--> Doha || Doha <--> Chicago || Chicago <--> Memphis

Would I be required to claim and re-check my baggage at Chicago even though all the flights were booked with Qatar Airways or can I check it in all the way from New Delhi to Memphis without re-checking in the baggage again?

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1  
Qatar do not fly from Chicago to Memphis. You may be booked on a flight with a QR flight number, but the flight will be operated by another airline, most likely American Airlines (or more likely, American Eagle, which is AA's regional arm). In this case, this does not change the answers already given below. –  Doc Jun 4 at 14:26
    
Yes my flights in US of A will all be operated by AA even though they have a QR flight number. –  Rish Jun 4 at 14:28
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A four digit flight number is a good indicator of a code share flight (meaning multiple airlines). –  Burhan Khalid Jun 4 at 14:52

3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

When you check in at DEL, you should ask that the bag be checked all the way through to MEM, even though yes, you will still need to claim it and re-check it at ORD.

Passengers on all international flights to the U.S. are processed upon arrival at their first airport in the U.S. (including transit passengers; the U.S. does not have sterile transit). In your case, after you land at Chicago, you will disembark the aircraft and proceed directly to immigration and customs screening. You will claim your bag before going through the latter.

If the bag is tagged for MEM, you fortunately do not need to go all the way out to the front counter to check them in again. There will be a station for bag re-check past the customs screening area; you would simply have it scanned there.

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Just to add to this, the staff at the airport where you have to claim and re-check in your luggage isn't always receptive to your travel circumstances. I once missed a connecting flight in Charlotte, NC, because it took over 2 hours to get my suitcase and check it in again. –  Aleks G Jun 4 at 13:50
    
@choster Why does the immigration screening have anything to do with the onward flight? Indeed he will have immigration at O'Hare though. –  Aditya Somani Jun 4 at 13:57
    
@choster You are absolutely right. My bad. As they say incomplete information is more dangerous than no information. I edited my answer to reflect the same. Thanks! –  Aditya Somani Jun 4 at 14:04

Usually you can check in at the starting airport and get your baggage directly at the last airport as long as you have all the flights on the same reservation.

In the cases above, it also matters to know whether your airline (in this case Qatar) has a code share or baggage routing policy with the other airline.

Unfortunately the US and Canada operate differently and here you must pass through immigration and then re-check in your luggage.

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Thanks Aditya. In my case, all the flights (arrival and departure) are on Qatar and all of them, in the US will be operated by American Airlines. –  Rish Jun 4 at 13:03
    
@Rish as choster mentioned the best way would be to check the tag. But yeah I don't suspect any problems with that combo. –  Aditya Somani Jun 4 at 13:50
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Okay, my bad. US and Canada handle things differently. I'll reflect that in my answer @Rish. –  Aditya Somani Jun 4 at 13:59
    
You might like to know that e.g. Denmark worked that way at least until 1998. I guess there will be lots of other countries as well. –  Zane Jun 4 at 15:35
    
@Zane Indeed I appreciate it. Maybe this requires a general question about baggage claim on its own. –  Aditya Somani Jun 4 at 15:39

Rishi, you should claim your baggage in Chicago after customs & immigration. Then take your baggage to local airline and re-check-in. That's what i did when i traveled to Austin from Hyderabad via Doha. My customs & immigration happened at Washington DC, where i collected my baggage and re-checked-in to American airlines.

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Not sure why someone gave a -1 to KsheeraSagar's answer. To me it's the correct answer. Because of customs you have to pick up all you checked-in luggage, and then give it back to the connecting airline. One time I had to re-check my luggage in. The next time the airline just took the luggage back after customs (no check-in required). –  JMS10 Jun 4 at 19:20

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