The flight is with Emirates, a quality airline, and each time during layover is a 5-hour and a 3.5-hour gap. And since the flight number is different each time, I think it’s reasonable to assume I will be switching planes.

I am only asking because I have lost my baggage once during flight change about 6 or 7 years ago on Lufthansa, and got it back several days into my trip. There was hardly any time for me to get off and rush to the other gate to get on again, and I fear that was probably why my luggage got lost.

I think there is a reasonable time gap and even though I bought the cheapest ticket available, I hope my luggage arrives with me, on time.

Is this unwise of me? What are your opinions on luggage getting lost? Does it matter where the transferring airport is? Or maybe the airline handling it?

  • It depends largely on the airport, the airline, and frankly the cost of your ticket/ class you're flying in/ what status you have on that airline. Here you're asking about a connection at DXB, right?
    – smci
    Mar 14, 2020 at 10:16
  • 5
    Also when you say 'lost luggage', I think you really mean 'delayed luggage', i.e. missed the connection, but got delivered late. Truly lost or stolen luggage is very rare (in most reputable airports and airlines).
    – smci
    Mar 14, 2020 at 10:17
  • Yes at DXB @smci
    – Stranger
    Mar 15, 2020 at 1:43
  • Stranger, since you mean 'delayed luggage' not 'lost luggage' you need to edit the question title like I pointed out above - it's very misleading. Actual 'lost luggage' is a very different scenario with different laws, compensation limits and carrier practices - depends where your flight originates, travel through and ends? EU, US, non-EU...? And likewise insurances policies and practices vary by country.
    – smci
    Mar 15, 2020 at 2:47

4 Answers 4


Luggage handling is much better than it used to be and large airports have sophisticated systems to track and transfer luggage.

The main issue is generally connection time in which it is possible for a luggage not to make the transfer, even though sometimes it does and the passenger doesn't nowadays. With a large connection time, chances of your luggage being lost are minimal.

Depending where your connection is, you may be able or even asked to perform the luggage transfer yourself. It really depends but the agent at the drop-off location should tell you. When in doubt, ask if the luggage is checked all the way through?

If the answer is no, you will have to pick up your luggage at the intermediate stop and bring it to the appropriate baggage drop location of the airline you are flying next. Failure to do so is probably a common cause of luggage getting lost, although they will usually sent it along on the next flight and even ship it to your home or ask you to go back to the airport so that you can clear it through customs yourself. This depends on the jurisdiction where you land.


As a rule, most air luggage is not lost. Some may not make the same plane as you do, but that is mostly for very short connections. It will catch the next plane and gets delivered to you the next few days.

3 to 5 hours is a normal transfer time and you do not have to worry about your luggage not making it.

But always keep your valuables and needed items, like medication, in your carry-on luggage. (And when gate checking luggage, take out your medication and passport and so on.)

Best also keep one change of clothing (at least underwear) in your carry-on. That way you can wait for your luggage if it is delayed without having to buy replacements.

  • This also varies based on a bunch of other things, such as the airport itself and whether you're connecting on the same airline or different airlines on a through ticket. For example, all my bags made it through a 1-hour Lufthansa transfer at Frankfurt, while one of my bags ended up delayed on an inter-airline connection in Paris-CDG (from Jet Airways to Air France). Perhaps the fact that the inbound flight parked at a remote stand that was extremely far from the connecting gate played a part; the bag was also damaged, so it's probable that it fell off a trolley when it was being driven.
    – gparyani
    Mar 14, 2020 at 5:32

The risk of total loss is very low. The risk of a few days delay is always there, but higher on a short connection. I put the following in my carry-on:

  • A change of clothing. If you have two sets of clothing you can have one set being cleaned while wearing the other set, and have clean clothes every day.
  • Essential medications: I might put vitamin pills in my checked luggage, but prescriptions I must take every day go in my carry-on.
  • Tickets, passport etc.
  • Travel-related papers, such as a printout of hotel reservations.
  • For business travel, laptop and any materials I need for the first few days of the trip. I might put multiple copies of a handout in checked baggage if there will be time to get a new set printed before they are needed.

Of course, valuables go in the carry-on.


The existing answers are all excellent, but none addresses your questions explicitly:

Is this unwise of me?

It is not unwise to hope that your luggage arrives on time. It is not unwise to prepare for possible delay of your checked luggage. It is unwise to worry too much about it, though, since there's not much you can do to reduce the chance of your luggage being delayed.

What are your opinions on luggage getting lost?

It stinks, but airlines who have lost my luggage have always handled it quickly and professionally.

Does it matter where the transferring airport is?

Absolutely. Some airports have better systems than others.

Or maybe the airline handling it?

Airlines often hire third-party ground service providers, so it may not actually be the airline that is handling the luggage transfer, but yes, it does matter who's handling it: like airports, some companies are more effective than others.

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