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I have an overnight layover as part of a single itinerary. Does the airline store the checked luggage overnight, or make me pick it up and then re-check it?

If they store it and I needed access to the luggage, can this be arranged at the time of check in?

If instead I don't need to access my luggage and don't want to deal with storing it, can I ask the airline to keep my luggage for me?

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I'm pretty sure that if you check in the luggage and don't have to recheck it in, then the airline will take care of it. –  Aditya Somani Jun 15 at 16:06

3 Answers 3

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The simple answer is, it depends! Each airline, and even sometimes each airport, will have different rules about what is and is not allowed.

As a general rule, most airlines will NOT automatically check your luggage through for an overnight connection. You will normally need collect your luggage when you land, and re-check it the following morning. This is normally a good thing as it allows you access to your luggage for your overnight stay.

However this is not true for all airlines - some WILL check your luggage through, especially for short overnight stays (eg, arrive 11:30pm, depart 5:30am).

The only way to find out exactly what they are going to do is to ask the airline, and even then you might find that when you get to the airport they proceed to do something different anyway!

If you want access to your luggage at the stopover point then basically all airlines will honor such a request at check-in. This is called "short-checking", and although not all airlines will do it in a general sense, they all should for an overnight layover.

If you want them to keep your luggage overnight, then it may be a bit more of a struggle. Some airlines, and even some airports, have policies that they simply will not do this - so whilst you can ask, be ready for a refusal. The one time you may be able to talk them into doing this where they otherwise refuse is if you are not able to go through passport control at the connecting country (eg, you don't have a visa), in which case you will not be able collect your luggage - in this case they may be more willing to check it all the way through, however I would not bet on this always being successful.

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Thanks for the helpful tips; in my case I would prefer if it were checked all the way through (I don't need most of it for the layover), but I can get a bag storage locker otherwise. –  Felix Jun 15 at 21:03

At check-in, the ticketing agent usually tells you if the luggage is checked all the way through or not. There is no fixed rule that applies to all cases.

If it is checked all the way through, meaning they expect you to pick it up at your final destination and that is not what you want, ask for the luggage checked to the stop you want to access your luggage. In most cases, this will be possible but you must ask at check-in time. Once a piece of luggage is tagged with its destination, this will be unlikely to be changed.

If they say it is not checked all the way through, you must pickup your luggage and check it in again. This happens depending on the route and airlines involved and you rarely have the option not to do this. For example, if you have a domestic flight following an international one, there is often the requirement to get the luggage through customs yourself and re-check it in.

Now, if you are checked-in for the later half of your route but your luggage is not, you have to go to the airline counter if it was tagged only to your stop. If it was tagged all the way but you had to pick it up at the stop, then you may hand it to a designated baggage drop-off point instead. They will often pass the whole thing through an X-ray machine or manual inspection again at that point. Stay there until someone responsible tells you it is OK.

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Doesn't really answer the question though, does it? –  Doc Jun 15 at 19:52
    
The answer is that it depends and that you have some control on it in some but not all cases. That's what is explained here. –  Itai Jun 15 at 20:19

Does the airline store the luggage overnight?

It depends. If your bags are checked through to your final destination then they will 'store' your baggage overnight.

If you bags aren't checked through to your final destination then you will need to pick them up at the layover destination's baggage carousel and retain them until you can check them in again (4-5 hours before your next flight).

If one needed access to the luggage, could this be arranged at the time of check in?

Yes, just have them check your bag only to your layover destination. You will have to claim your bag at the baggage carousel and check it back in as early as 4-5 hours before your next flight.

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