I frequently end up spending more time inside security after landing (on domestic US flights). Usually it's because I want to hit a specific coffee shop that is in the secure area; in a few months I will be waiting for my girlfriend's flight that arrives about 20 minutes after mine.

Usually I get to baggage claim and my suitcases have been taken off the carousel for me and set aside. Not a big deal, however I wonder if I should inform someone ahead of time as a matter of courtesy, and if so whom?

  • If I don't get a conclusive answer here, I will ask at check-in time and post a self-answer. This won't be until February or March, though. Nov 30, 2018 at 21:13
  • Will you and GF take another plane ? or you just want to wait for her ?
    – Max
    Nov 30, 2018 at 21:19
  • I just want to wait for her. We are both arriving at our final destination. (If we were taking another plane none of this would be a problem, because most likely our bags would be checked through anyway. :-) ) Nov 30, 2018 at 21:21
  • 3
    For context to non-U.S. flyers: most U.S. airports do not have a separate "arrivals" flow for domestic passengers: after getting off the plane, passengers are released through the same door as departures and led into the main gate concourse area, from which they have to go through an exit into baggage claim and arrivals. For connecting passengers, there's no check unless the onward gate isn't linked airside; passengers just walk to their next gate.
    – gparyani
    Nov 30, 2018 at 23:26

2 Answers 2


Baggage claim areas for domestic flights are typically in public areas. So you have a few issues to deal with.

  1. Security may (or may not) notice your bag on the carousel after everything else has gone. You now have to spend extra time searching for security.

  2. If there are many flights, another flight's bags may be using the same carousel by the time you get there. So your bag is still going around and around but you don't know where because your flight dropped off the sign.

  3. Your bag is at a much higher risk of theft. If it's just sitting there when the rest of the flight is gone, a thief will think (correctly) that they can probably pick up the bag and get out of the airport before anyone notices.

The airlines will do nothing for you here. WAY too much work to single out one bag at the destination and hold it somewhere.

So which is more important to you? The caramel Caffè Marocchino in concourse B, or not having your suitcase stolen?

Note: none of the above applies to international arrivals. Arriving and departing passengers are completely separate, there are NO services of any kind between the gate and immigration, you cannot return and claim your bag later, and anyone loitering around in an obvious way will either be hustled out the door by security or put in an interview room for a while.


I took the trip a few weeks ago. When I arrived, I asked the gate agent if there's anything I need to do, and they said the bag would just be waiting for me when I got there, which it was.

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