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Novice travelers - first time out of the country! We are taking an 8 day cruise to Rome and our return to the USA is Rome to Montreal [Air Canada] with a 23 hr layover before flying to Toronto and then to the USA. Because of the layover time, we have a reservation at the Marriott at the Montreal airport. My question is about our luggage. Will we be given our checked luggage in Montreal or will it be held and transferred to our connecting flight?

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    What did Air Canada say when you asked them?
    – Traveller
    May 21, 2023 at 17:02
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    That seems like a weird routing, especially the 23 hour layover in Montreal when there are over a dozen flights a day to YYZ (and a few more to YTZ). What is your final destination, are all flights on the same ticket? Did you specifically ask for the long stop in Montreal?
    – jcaron
    May 21, 2023 at 20:17
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    Did not ask for the layover. Long story short, had to change original long standing reservations and ended up with this long layover. Final destination is Raleigh NC. May 21, 2023 at 23:01
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    @jcaron: probably "supply and demand" pricing. These day the cheapest option have frequently weird layovers. They are less desirable and hence cheaper (regardless of the actual cost to the airline).
    – Hilmar
    May 22, 2023 at 12:13
  • that's weird considering that there are faster trains to Toronto than waiting for 23 hours
    – njzk2
    May 23, 2023 at 17:44

1 Answer 1

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The overriding answer that applies in all circumstances is "if you ask the airline to short check your bags you can get them at the layover point and then recheck them in again when you head off on the next leg." That is, you don't just hope that what the airline does automatically will be what is best for you, you request it.

A possibly useful thing to know is that when you go international-domestic in Canada, you usually have to clear customs (with your luggage) at the place you enter Canada, which in your case is Montreal, suggesting that the default would be ok for you, and you might not need to ask.

But a possible override to that is that since you're heading back out of Canada again there might be some cleverness to "save you the trouble" and check your bags all the way to your final destination. Might. Or might not.

So bottom line: ask the airline to do the thing you want.

Also, unsolicited advice: you don't need a whole cruise worth of suitcase to spend one night in a hotel. Put your toothbrushes, toothpaste, and change of undies/shirts in a carryon bag and try to interact with your checked luggage as little as humanly possible.

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    That last "unsolicited" paragraph is so important!
    – Midavalo
    May 21, 2023 at 21:48
  • I'd add that it's a good idea to use a self-service kiosk in Rome, if one is available. That way you have ample time to look at what the tags you just printed say. If they say only Toronto, you're good. If they say Raleigh via Toronto and Montreal, that's not good and you can go explain the situation at the counter. In my experience this is a much more chill experience than trying to explain everything to a rushed check-in agent (who thinks you're trying to explain their job to them and might not speak English well) and hoping you catch a glimpse of what the tags say before they zip away. May 22, 2023 at 10:44
  • Nowadays for AC flights from many countries, customs clearance for checked baggage can often take place at the final domestic destination; in any case, checked-through baggage to the U.S. usually does not need to be retrieved, nor does it routinely get cleared by Canadian customs (but it may be different for itineraries with a domestic transit).
    – xngtng
    May 22, 2023 at 12:31
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    @xngtng that is what the third paragraph that starts "But" is about. However I would not say "often". I have spent hours waiting for luggage at YYZ listening to the announcements about how all passengers with a domestic connection must pick up their luggage here to clear customs. It seems to me not possible to guess what the airline will do in this case, which is why the answer is to ask the airline to check the luggage only to Montreal if you want access to it there. May 22, 2023 at 12:40
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    @KateGregory I don't disagree; it is only that customs clearance for checked baggage at first POE can no longer be assumed as the default in Canada like in the US: aircanada.com/cn/en/aco/home/fly/at-the-airport/…; aircanada.com/cn/en/aco/home/fly/at-the-airport/…. Of course it can change for operational reasons by the airlines, airport or CBSA.
    – xngtng
    May 22, 2023 at 13:19

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