I have a flight to Australia in January. I booked through Air NZ. My journey goes:

Vancouver - LAX LAX - Auckland Auckland - Brisbane.

I booked the flight under one ticket itiniery. My question is, I only have a couple of hours between flights (layover time) and I am wondering if I would have to collect my bags and go through customs/security at each layover stop? I am worried that I would miss my flight if I had to do that? I was under the impression that if you are just transiting through each airport that you could just go directly to the next check in gate and check in for the next leg of your flight with just your carry on bags etc and your checked bags would be put in for the final destination at the beginning in Vancouver. So you would just have to collect your bags at your final destination right? (Brisbane) Also is having an ESTA for USA and a NZETA sufficient to enter each country entry point and just transit through the airports? ( I am an aussie citizen just trying to get home)


2 Answers 2


Each country has different rules. The US does not have the concept of "transit passenger" and you will have to enter the US by going through immigration and customs. However, from Vancouver this is done at "preclearance" which means you will be a domestic arrival in LAX and will not have to go through immigration at all there.

In Auckland, you do not have to enter NZ (that would currently require quarantine for COVID-19), so your bags may be checked through to Brisbane. In that case you would only need to hang around in the transit area until your next flight leaves.

The best advice is to ask the at the check-in counter when you check in. They will be able to tell you.

  • 3
    Canada has preclearance for US-bound flights, so they will be treated as a US domestic arrival when they land at LAX.
    – Aaron
    Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 4:40
  • Oh that's true, that changes things a bit more. Updated. Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 5:07

Canada has preclearance for customs & immigration for US bound flights so you are treated as a domestic passenger when you arrive at LAX. Bags should just transfer fine, just like any domestic connection. I flew through Auckland in Feb of 2020 on an international itinerary (SFO -> AKL -> MEL) and I did not have to do anything with my bag. In fact, I left the airport completely for several hours. Obviously check with the agents if you have any confusion since it would be unfortunate that your bags are circling a carousel 3 stops back. I'm also not sure how COVID changes immigration/transfer policies, you may want to check that as well.

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