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I am considering flights on British Airways from one place to another in Europe, via London Heathrow (LHR). One itinerary has a 11-hour connection, from 21:00h the night before to 08:00h the next morning. The other itinerary has a 23-hour connection, from 09:00h the morning before to 08:00h the next morning. For very long, overnight connections like this, will British Airways be willing to check my luggage through, so that I don't need to see it during the layover? Or is there some policy that for overnight layovers, they always require the traveller to pick up and then re-check their luggage?

Yes, I can pack so that all my overnight things are in carry-on baggage, so that I don't need access to my checked bags. Yes, I am aware that baggage storage exists at LHR, but not seeing the baggage at all is even easier than schlepping to and paying for storage.

A related question, Long layover in Heathrow - with checked baggage, generated the answer, "Assuming that your 10-hour layover is not overnight… you can generally expect to have your baggage checked through such that you won't see it at all in Heathrow." But in my case, the layover is indeed overnight.

Update: described the endpoints of my journey less specifically, so that people won't get hung up on the advisability of going via London, and can focus on the topic of the question: BA's baggage check policies.

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    @BernhardDöbler why? Because Kayak showed that those flights were among the cheapest and mosting interesting options. I am starting from Bologna, which has fewer flights than Rome. "Shorter" is not the only thing to improve: "cheaper" is good, "long layover to see London for free" is also good. But, the question is about BA's checked baggage policies, not about the wisdom of my travel planning. – Jim DeLaHunt Nov 3 '19 at 20:53
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    Will you be able to stay airside, or going through customs and immigration? – Patricia Shanahan Nov 5 '19 at 0:31
  • @PatriciaShanahan great question. I don't know what the airline expects passengers to do during a 12- or 23-hour layover. I do know that what makes such layovers attractive is 1. being able to sleep in a hotel bed instead of an airport chair, and 2. going out into the nearby world. If there is a hotel within the right part of the airport, the former might not require going through customs and immigration, but probably it will require that. The latter certainly requires going through customs and immigration. – Jim DeLaHunt Nov 5 '19 at 6:58
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On a single itinerary (ticket) with a "layover" your bag will always be checked through to the final destination .

That's different from a "stopover", where the airport in the middle is a separate stop: Your bags will indeed be unloaded and you have to check in again and get new boarding passes for the second leg.

Mainly the difference is determined by time: Anything more than 23 hours or 24 hours is typically treated as a "stopover". It depends on the specific airlines. You can also book shorter stopovers intentionally, if you want to enforce a specific routing.

If you buy the trip as two different tickets, you will always have to collect and rechcek your bags, since this is treated as two separate trips.

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  • Very helpful. Can you perhaps point to a British Airways web page where they say that is there policy? Or is your answer based on knowing how airlines in general work? – Jim DeLaHunt Nov 4 '19 at 12:52
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    @JimDeLaHunt It's a relatively common policy among most airlines. You may find additional details in the applicable fare rules (if you manage to get the full text of the fare rules for your fare), though I admit I would not bet on it, especially in the case of your proposed 23-hour connection. Your best option is probably to call them to make sure, though I wouldn't be surprised if you received quite ambiguous (or even wrong) answers. – jcaron Nov 4 '19 at 13:37

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