Our cousin was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and has ILR in the UK. She is a dual citizen of the US and the Irish Republic.

Next week, she’s ticketed to fly San Francisco > Dallas > London Heathrow > Dublin on a single ticket purchased from British Airways. The first leg is carried by American, the second by British Airways, and the third by Aer Lingus. She will have checked luggage.

Will her luggage be checked through from SFO to DUB? Or will she have to retrieve it at LHR in order to pass UK Customs as the first stop into the Common Travel Area?


2 Answers 2


The rule in the EU (which still applies for the UK until the end of the year) is that as long as the final airport has customs facilities, through-ticketed passengers will have their luggage checked through to the final destination, and will not see it at the first point of entry (contrary to what happens in the US).

I suppose she will go through passport control in London (not entirely sure what the rules are for transits through the UK to Ireland), but her luggage will be transferred to the next flight without her seeing it.

Her luggage will have a "regular" luggage tag (black and white) without the green stripes on the edges which are used for intra-EU travel.

In Dublin, when going through customers after retrieving her bags, she should NOT use the blue corridor (reserved for passengers originating in the EU, with green-striped luggage tags), but one of the usual green or red corridors.

Note that as this is related to customs, not immigration, the Common Travel Area is irrelevant anyway, only the EU customs union is. After the end of the transition period, of course, all bets are off on what could possibly happen and what the rules will be, though it is likely that in most of the possible outcomes, it wouldn't really change what would happen in this specific scenario.

  • Itineraries from outside the EU transferring in the UK to Ireland don't need to pick up baggage. But connections from Ireland to the UK transferring to a UK domestic flight need to pick up baggage and go through customs with it. May 11, 2020 at 22:41
  • @MichaelHampton Uh? Where did they get this strange idea from? I don't quite understand the logic for this, especially for this combination only... Weird.
    – jcaron
    May 12, 2020 at 0:01
  • They probably got that strange idea from HMRC. May 12, 2020 at 2:23
  • @MichaelHampton But... Why? This seems to be contrary to EU rules. Also BA sell DUB-LHR-EDI flights with 1h05 layover in LHR, or DUB-LHUR-MAN with 1h, that seems way to short to get your luggage and check-it back in before the deadline.
    – jcaron
    May 12, 2020 at 7:54
  • 1
    I don't get it either. But that's what they say. It might be outdated. It could be entirely wrong. It could just be something BA do to be weird and inconvenient. May 12, 2020 at 12:45

My cousin reports that her luggage was indeed checked through from SFO > DUB, and she didn't have to retrieve it at LHR.

OTOH, UK Immigration at LHR did ask her to produce her receipt for the checked bags.

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