I have two different bookings on British Airways and Emirates.

Booking 1 (British Airways): Washington (IAD) -> London (LHR) -> Dubai

Booking 2 (Emirates): Dubai -> Hyderabad

I have a 5 hour stop in Dubai but do not have a visa to leave the airport. British Airways says they won't through-check my bags. Emirates says it won't be a problem since Emirates and BA are partner airlines.

Not sure what I should do at this point. My flight is tomorrow so its too late to apply for a visa. I have actually done with before without a problem on the same two airlines. The only difference was that it was on a single ticket booked through a travel website.

  • Do you also need to change terminals in Dubai, or are the flights from the same one?
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 22:00
  • 4
    One option may be to pay for the Meet and Greet transfer service, it looks like they'll then help you with everything (for a fee!)
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 22:03
  • Yes I do have to switch from terminal 1 to terminal 3 in Dubai. I will check on Marhaba. Thanks! Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 22:19
  • Once you've done the trip, please post up what worked and didn't as an answer!
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Sep 20, 2011 at 8:30
  • I hope this isn't a stupid question, but why can't you pick up your bags, transfer to the other terminal, recheck your bags and get on the next flight? You aren't leaving the airport, and you shouldn't need to clear customs. Commented Apr 24, 2012 at 17:28

6 Answers 6


So here is my update on my situation. All in all pretty terrible:

BA refused to check my bags in all the way to Hyderabad (India). They have a policy of not checking bags on flights other than their own. They would make an exception only for OneWorld partners. Something about how BA was responsible for luggage even if the other airline lost it. The fact that I am Sapphire on OneWorld (Platinum on American) did not help. The night before travel I also applied for a last minute visa for Dubai just in case (so I could pick up bags and re-check them in Dubai; I would have enough time there). This visa was rejected by the Visa office in Dubai since it had been less than 30 days since my last visit. They charged $280 for the application which they have decided to keep.

I was left with no choice but pay $630 to change my BA ticket to go to Hyderabad directly since BA would not let me board the flight.

I am disputing the charge with BA who has so far offered to pay for my unused ticket from Dubai to Hyderabad. This only amounts to around $170.

My advice: Use caution when making different bookings on non partner airlines especially when you have visa requirements in the place where you transit.

  • 1
    wow! that is a LOT of money!! 630+280-170! that means you paid 740$ more than original ticket
    – Yousf
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 17:54
  • 1
    Be aware that BA won't even do this for OneWorld passengers anymore unless on the same ticket or booking reference: travel.stackexchange.com/a/43807/27176 Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 13:26

I had the same issue in February, 2013. I was flying from Munich to Dubai on Lufthansa and then flying on Emirates from Dubai to Calicut (Kozikode) India, separate bookings as well. When I landed in Dubai, I figured I would just collect my bags and check in. But since I had no visa, I was not allowed to baggage area. I was instructed to go through transfer area and then check with Emirates customer service near my gate. I did so and told them of my situation. They electronically changed my baggage tag and had someone pick it up at Lufthansa and put it on the Emirates flight (different terminal even!). I did NOT expect to see my bags in Calicut but it showed up to my surprise. You can verify at the departure gate if indeed your bag is on the plane, just show them your baggage tag. It is the original tag, but like I said earlier, they modified it in their system. I did that and they confirmed by bag was on the flight.

  • 4
    I did a similar thing once in Johannesburg with bags that we couldn't check all the way to our final destination. There was no time to clear immigration and customs to recheck the bags, so we went straight to the connecting airline and asked them to pull the bags from luggage carousel and put them on the plane. They didn't manage to get them our flight, but they did eventually get them to our destination. It was stressful and complicated and I wouldn't recommend it unless you have no other choice, but it could work...
    – user27478
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 7:45
  • Excellent idea. I think this will usually work. I think our original asker didn't have to pay all this money since local airline staff is usually helpful. Commented Apr 23, 2022 at 2:35

I'm actually about to do the same thing when transferring at London Heathrow. My partner and I have booked a holiday in Barcelona through one online booking site and the return trip home from Heathrow from another online booking site.

I assumed that we'd just need to come out through customs, collect our bags, then go back through to get our next flight but I spoke with a travel agent friend of mine and he said I could avoid this so long as I did the right thing when I checked in on my flight from Barcelona.

All you need to do is have both tickets printed out and available when you check in for your first flight. You'll need to explain to the check in agent that you are not staying in Dubai and ask them to forward your checked in luggage to your flight to the next destination, Hyderabad. He said that an inexperienced agent may not know how to do this, but should be able to get a manager to show them.

Good luck!


I had a similar issue but in what seemed to be a simpler situation. I had one ticket but with 3 airlines (from the same Star Alliance). I was flying from San Jose via Chicago and Copenhagen to Vilnius. The first leg was Continental, then SAS, then airBaltic. The clerk at Continental stand said he can't check my luggage in through to Vilnius because they had no airBaltic in their system or something like this. He then called his manager, they struggled for some time but couldn't do anything. So they told me I'll need to pickup my bag in Copenhagen and check it back in.

When I came to Chicago I went to the SAS stand and explained my situation. They said that it wasn't a problem and they'll fix it as soon as they get my bag. But they asked me to confirm this before getting on the plane in Chicago. When boarding started they couldn't tell me anything about this, so I decided to go to the luggage collection belt in Copenhagen (luckily I don't need a visa) to make sure. My bag wasn't there so I assumed they fixed this.

Unfortunately my bag didn't appear in Vilnius either :) I got it the next day and I don't know where did it get stuck (I'm guessing Chicago).

The bottom line is that in these situations I think each case is specific and you never know how it's going to end.

  • Great, I will do the same Star Alliance trick and I have confidence that it will work. I had done it once involving Jet Airways and I don't know what it connected with, Northwest Airlines or KLM. Long time ago. And it worked. Now I will do Thai Airways BKK to BOM Ethiopian Airlines to GRU and Avianca to BOG. I think I will get my luggage checked through from BKK to BOG. Commented Apr 23, 2022 at 2:52

Update - British Airways (along with many other OneWorld alliance airlines) have recently enhanced changed their policy on through checking. BA policy is now not to through check unless on the same ticket or booking reference number:

From 1 June 2016, the British Airways policy on accepting customers travelling on separate tickets changed. Baggage will normally be checked through to your final destination, provided your journey is on the same ticket or booking reference. However, if you hold separate tickets for the flights in your journey, we will only check your baggage to your final destination if the connecting flights are contained within the same booking reference, for flights operated by British Airways or another oneworld airline.

If you have to recheck baggage for subsequent connections bear in mind you may need to go landside and clear border controls - that may also mean getting a travel visa. As stated previously in this answer speak with the airline responsible for the first leg of your journey.

For anyone else looking at this question from Google the quick answer is - it depends. Speak with the airline responsible for the first leg of your journey. BA policy is:

Transfer passengers holding through tickets - British Airways will effect through-checkin (including the through-checking of bags) where applicable via the transfer point and minimum connecting times will apply. In addition, in the case of delay or disruption at the transfer point British Airways will apply involuntary rerouting procedures which may include rebooking on to alternative flights or in some circumstances hotel accommodation.

Transfer passengers holding separate tickets - British Airways will not effect any through check-in for passengers holding separate tickets for onward travel from the transfer point, unless the fights are BA to BA, or BA to oneWorld partner. Passengers who have separate tickets will have to collect their baggage at the transfer point & possibly clear customs and then check in again for their onward flight. Extra time for the transfer will therefore have to be allowed as minimum connecting times will not apply. Also, in the event of delay or disruption at transfer point, British Airways will not be responsible for any rerouting process because passengers hold separate contracts for each separate journey.

Whilst they state they won't be responsible for rerouting for those holding separate tickets for each leg, I expect they would exercise some discretion for BA to BA transfers where reasonable connection times have been planned.

  • Not so "One World" after all. Star Alliance is better that way, right? Commented Apr 23, 2022 at 2:54

I had a recent flight on qatar jnb-doha-cdg and a seperate aer lingus ticket cdg-dub. Qatar checked bags through to dub and they arrived with me. However on the return leg aer lingus refused point blank to check the bags through. I had go through immigration at cdg pick up the bags and re- check with qatar. Aer Lingus at dub stated that it was their policy only to check bags through if on the same ticket. No consistency! So beware because if you need a visa for the transit country you will not be able to get to the baggage area without one!

  • Just wait about a year, and Aer Lingus will be part of OneWorld again, and much more likely to through-check onto Qatar (another OneWorld airline) across tickets
    – Gagravarr
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 12:20

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