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I'm traveling from Toronto to Rome with Air Canada... There's a 1 hour stop and plane change in Montreal.

From Rome I still have to buy a ticket to Olbia (Sardegna). We can't take only carry on because we are going to be away 2 months.

My concern is the possibility of delayed baggage because the plane change in Montreal. What is the best option?

If I buy a ticket to Olbia the same day we arrive in Rome and baggage is delayed what happens?
I'll be in Olbia, my luggage will be arriving to Rome and then what? Will the second airline deliver anyway even though it will be Air Canadas fault?

I was going to buy the second ticket with Alitalia... Should I wait to get to Rome and buy the ticket right in the airport? Are they more expensive as same day tickets? I don't know the best strategy.

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    Is there a specific reason you think your baggage will be delayed in Mont? I've had many layovers around 1/1.5 hrs across the states and there's never been a problem with the bags – Uciebila Feb 26 at 9:44
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    @Uciebila With a one-hour layover, it's very likely that the bags will make it to the connecting flight. However, there is a realistic prospect that they won't, especially if the incoming flight is delayed. The asker should expect that their bags will make it, but be prepared for the possibility that they won't. – David Richerby Feb 26 at 15:24
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    Just a note, if you need baggage then you need it, but the mere fact that you're doing a two-month trip doesn't imply you do. Your life might be easier if you try to fit everything into a carry-on. – Mehrdad Feb 26 at 21:35
  • Thanks everybody! I could not believe this morning when I got the email, how many of you are helping me! Thanks a lo, really.. The YYZ-FCO is already bought and to change it Air Canada is asking for 300 can dollars each (!) I think I'm going to buy the fco-olb and take the risk... I'll worry later if I can.. BTW in April Alitalia starts FCO-OLB 3 times daily.. You guys are amazing... – Horacio Feb 27 at 9:20
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If you buy separate tickets and your baggage is delayed arriving to Rome, neither airline will deliver the luggage to you in Olbia free of charge. Air Canada won’t do it because their responsibility ends with getting it to Rome. The second airline won’t do it because it’s your responsibility to check in with it in Rome.

Luggage can usually transfer quicker than humans, so it’s possible that if you make the transfer your bags will too (and vice versa). If you’re concerned about it there seem to be a number of options, depending on your risk appetite:

  1. Rebook the entire trip as a single booking (one PNR)

  2. Contact Air Canada to ask what happens to your bags if the inbound flight is late and whether they will check your baggage through to Olbia if you’re on a separate booking with a different carrier

  3. Change to a later connection in Montreal that allows for another Air Canada inbound arrival from Toronto after your own

  4. Book the latest possible flight to Olbia on the day you land in Rome

  5. Plan to spend a night or two in Rome

  6. Book the separate flight and try not to worry

Clearly it’s important that you have adequate travel insurance for delayed/lost baggage.

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    "Luggage can usually transfer quicker than humans." Too true; one time when I was connecting through Chicago O'Hare, my first flight was delayed. My luggage made it on to my connecting flight. I did not. – Michael Seifert Feb 26 at 14:26
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    Are you sure airlines won't do it? A couple years ago, a group of friends did a road-trip through the US. One of their bag was delayed on landing, and the airline dutifully sent the bag onward multiple times for a full week: the bag would arrive during the day at the hotel they were in the morning, after they departed, and the airline would arrange transport to the next hotel. It lasted until they finally spent two consecutive days in the same hotel. – Matthieu M. Feb 26 at 15:01
  • "it’s possible that if you make the transfer your bags will too" - yes, but delayed baggage usually happens because a transfer wasn't done correctly. – Martin Bonner Feb 26 at 16:06
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    @MichaelSeifert: AFAIK the rule is that baggage can only fly on a later flight, it should never be able to fly on an earlier flight. This is simply because it's easy for a would-be terrorist to just loiter in the airport and miss their flight/connection on purpose, whereas it's much harder to time things so your baggage won't make it to the flight when you do. In all instances I've experienced of a passenger missing a flight when their baggage was loaded, they had to open the cargo hold and unload this specific passenger piece of luggage... it's a lengthy operation. – Matthieu M. Feb 26 at 17:39
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    @MatthieuM.: I think it's even more lenient: You must not be able to cause your baggage to fly without you. So if (for example) the airline involuntarily bounces you from the flight at the last minute, they don't have to offload your luggage, because you certainly didn't plan to get bounced. Once, a baggage handler told me that my bag had flown on the connecting flight without me. I informed her that this was impossible since the connection had taken off just as my first plane was touching down. She then told me the bag would be "in the tunnel," (?) and retrieved it for me. – Kevin Feb 27 at 5:16
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You have a few options here

  1. Meridiana flies three times a day from FCO to Olbia for around $100 one way. Same day tickets do not seem to be substantially more expensive (which they often are), so you can wait to book until you are sure you have your bags. You run the risk of a price increase or for being simply sold out.
  2. Book a single YYZ to Olbia itinerary. Airline will deliver bags to any location that's reasonably close to your final destination (on the ticket). Granted, this may be expensive and/or impractical, since Olbia is not a well served airport
  3. Budget for an extra day in Rome. If your bags get stuck in Montreal, they'll come on the next YUL to FCO flight which is probably 24 hours later. Check the schedule to confirm.
  4. Chance it. An hour is not terrible, and if the flight is on time, your bags should make it easily
  5. Change your long haul flight to one with a longer layover. Or non-stop: YYZ-FCO is well served
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In addition to precautions around ticketing, to maximise your chances of the baggage doing what it's supposed to, it's always a good idea to have the bare essentials in your hand luggage.

This would typically mean at least a change of underwear/shirt, clothes for the destination climate if significantly different, the essentials to clean yourself, and any medication. You may have extra items to add depending on what you're doing when you arrive, and all this is in addition to the things you want or need to have in hand luggage anyway, such as valuables and fragile items. Even if you have plenty of money (accessible while travelling), it can be quite tricky to buy replacements for missing items if you arrive when the shops are shut, and/or are staying some distance from major stores.

  • This! At the very least, have in your carry on: a full change, including some underwear/socks & minimal toiletry to be able to live comfortably for a day or two in case the baggage gets delayed... or somehow misses the flight. Also, consider putting your valuables in the carry-on as well, just in case. – Matthieu M. Feb 26 at 15:04
  • @MatthieuM. I'd assumed valuables and fragiles would be in hand luggage, but it's worth being explicit. – Chris H Feb 26 at 15:16
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    I think it becomes obvious that it should be with experience; but not everybody has experience flying :) – Matthieu M. Feb 26 at 15:46
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Will the second airline deliver anyway even though it will be Air Canadas fault?

You have a contract with Air Canada that they will get you and your bags to Rome, and that's all that really matters to you. Most likely, it will be the second airline that actually delivers your bag, probably at Air Canada's expense, but the exact details of how that happens don't really matter from your point of view.

I'm not sure to what extent they're responsible for getting your bags to your final destination. However, it is completely normal for airline passengers to land in one place and then travel on to somewhere else. When my bag was delayed on a flight to London Heathrow, they were happy to deliver them to my home in Oxford, 70km away, no questions asked (apart from "Where should we bring your bag, sir?", of course). Your case involves more effort for the airline, but it's not your fault if they lose your bags so, morally speaking, why should you have to accommodate them? I'm not sure what the actual situation is, though.

  • Snap (except my home was in Cambridge, perhaps 110km away). – Martin Bonner Feb 26 at 16:14
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TL;DR: Check with the carrier. Check their web page or call them. Based on their page Air Canada will most probably send the luggage to you. Consider also other option, especially flights operated by EU carriers as thy have additional regulations that protect you.


A general rule is that the carrier is liable for the luggage so it's best to go to the source: Air Canada's page about delayed luggage, where we read:

When we locate your bags

Once we've located your baggage and ensured it reaches its destination airport, it will be delivered to you via our contracted carrier in the area or FedEx.

It does not state that it will be delivered to an address outside the destination airport city but it also doesn't say the contrary and it's quite normal situation that you travel outside of your destination city. FedEx or other similar delivery services usually have uniform price across a whole country, so I doubt the airline will care if you're in Rome, Olbia or any other Italian city, as long as you stay within Italy.

Either way you can call the airline and ask them directly if they will deliver the lost luggage in case it is lost during your flight to Olbia. You don't need to explain how do you plan to get there as this is irrelevant for the carrier.

Note that the second carrier (from Rome to Olbia), be it Alitalia or some other line has no liability at all and will not deliver your luggage for sure. If the luggage came delayed to Rome you will not be able to check it in, so from their perspective you just fly without registered luggage. Note also, that you need to make sure you have enough time in Rome to pick your checked luggage and do the drop-off for the next airline.


Other options

Have you considered other options as well?

One that comes to my mind is flying with different carriers, most probably on different route. Is there any particular reason why you want to fly specifically through Rome or with Air Canada?

On Google flight search you have some options including those with just one stop in Europe. What's even more important - some flights are operated by European airline

Why is it important?

If you fly to EU with a carrier from EU there are additional rules that apply. The liability in such case is described on EU official passenger rights. What is important - when you fly from Canada those regulations apply only on EU based carrier:

EU air passenger rights apply:

  • If your flight is within the EU and is operated either by an EU or a non-EU airline
  • If your flight arrives in the EU from outside the EU and is operated by an EU airline
  • If your flight departs from the EU to a non-EU country operated by an EU or a non-EU airline
  • If you have not already received benefits (compensation, re-routing, assistance from the airline) for flight related problems for this journey under the relevant law of a non-EU country.

So it does e.g. on KLM flight, but not on the Air Canada one that you have picked. It is also important, that this is only about the airline that operates the flight, even if you bought tickets in code-sharing (it is both-ways, i.e. if you by a ticket from Air Canada but fly Lufthansa then rules apply, if it's the otherwise and your Lufthansa ticked end you up in Air Canada plane you're not eligible for those rules).

Your additional protection is then as follows:

Checked-in luggage

If your checked-in luggage is lost, damaged or delayed, the airline is liable and you're entitled to compensation up to an amount of approximately EUR 1 300.

The airline liability is not specified directly but in general it is any cost incurred by the source cause. So if you have to travel from Olbia to Rome and back to pick your luggage, you can reclaim this cost. If you have to buy spare clothes, you can reclaim that as well. Of course, you have to be reasonable. You don't take business class flight nor buy latest Gucci clothing.

  • "It does not state that it will be delivered to an address outside the destination airport city" They absolutely will. The only question is whether they're obliged to deliver to somewhere on an island that's an hour's flight away from the destination airport. But, honestly, the answer is probably still yes. – David Richerby Feb 27 at 10:21
  • As I point out - they claim they will ship with FedEx or something similar. As long as you're in the same country and the price remain the same it shouldn't matter if you're on an island, in a city that is 1000 km away or something else, What matter is if the shipping there is covered with the same standard price or not. My best guess is for the airline the price of shipping to Olbia is exactly the same as shipping to Rome. – Ister Feb 27 at 11:49
  • No, what matters is the precise conditions of carriage of the airline. Rather than guessing based on the price you guess the airline would have to pay its courier, one should check the actual conditions. And note that “same country” is unlikely to be a requirement, e.g., within the EU. – David Richerby Feb 27 at 16:05
  • Well, I have listed the relevant info from carrier's page and suggested calling to make sure if still in doubt. Beyond that I can only speculate (and I admit that's what I did). Anyway applying my knowledge of goods transportation in Europe and simple logic same price and effort should mean no problem for the airline, thus they should be OK. I don't want to speculate beyond that (eg. other country within EU) as I don't have enough data even for such guesses. Moreover FCO is 30 km from Rome centre and about 15 km from border so even sending to Rome is actually sending to a different city. – Ister Feb 27 at 16:11
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Have you considered not checking the luggage at all and shipping it directly to your destination via fedex or other postal options?

This option has the benefit of being less stressful at the airport in general and something you can do ahead of time. Especially if it is cheaper than checked luggage fees.

  • The fee for checking a bag on a long-haul flight with a flag carrier such as Air Canada is typically zero. Shipping a suitcase-sized package intercontinentally is likely to cost well over $100, and more if you want it to go by air and get a better delivery estimate than "some time in the next month". – David Richerby Feb 27 at 10:18
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As far as I see it, Air Canada's procedures regarding delayed baggage are that they will send it to you "via our contracted carrier in the area or FedEx." Since Olbia is in Italy just like Rome, it would be a national package (e.g. up to 30kg through PosteItaliane without surcharge), so I would only prepare for an additional day of delay (= have two sets of clothes in hand luggage, not one) while your baggage is taking the ferry to Sardinia.

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